Next up is Stevie Wonder.
The dude is one of my musical heroes, for as far as I have any. He rocks. And it’s awesome when Eddie Murphie makes fun of him. When you’re able to make fun of people it means they have something distinctive about them. What’s distinctive about Stevie Wonder is that he is Original.
I mean this in the spiteful sense. For this session I chose Past time paradise as the song of the day simply because I’m fed up with people giving credit, consciously or unconsciously, to musical pieces of the 90s and beyond that were actually for the most part conceived by brilliant performers like Mr. Wonder.
I mean, it’s all nice and dandy that once old performers get gently pushed aside in the course of time for newer musicians, that sometimes these new dudes will cover old stuff as a tribute or a sign of respect, or to keep the song itself alive. But when Coolio does Gangsta’s Paradise, is this what he has in mind, or is it a money making venture? How many people actually know that Stevie wrote and performed the original? And that the original lyrics have a great deal more thought and relevance behind them than the popular version?
Maybe I’m too young yet to be upset about this, but it always hurts when I find out that what I thought is a great song and an achievement of its performers is actually a polished cover of a classic. I feel kind of cheated for giving the newer performers too much credit. While I don’t like todays rabid copyright society, where intellectual property has become an industry rather than a concept of protecting artists, I would like to know when a song is a remake and when it is original. Films at least credit the books or previous films they’re based on.
That said, past time paradise lacks musical appeal if you compare it to Foolio’s version. The latter is just better worked out, hyped up and polished. Stevie’s thing is a low profile social commentary, not a track designed to be a hit record. Regardless, I think everyone owes it to Stevie and music classics in general to listen at least once to the original record.