On this day in music history: December 29, 197…

On this day in music history: December 29, 1973 – “Living For The City” by Stevie Wonder hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 2 weeks, also peaking at #8 on the Hot 100 on January 12, 1974. Written by Stevie Wonder, it is the eighth R&B chart topper for the Motown superstar. Issued as the second single from “Innervisions”, the songs’ narrative follows a young man’s struggle to overcome an impoverished upbringing, only to end up in jail after being tricked into transporting drugs. Co-producers Robert Margouleff and Malcolm Cecil capture Wonder’s intense vocals on the final verse, deliberately making him angry, by stopping the tape in the middle of takes and criticizing his performance. “City” is also unique for its extended dialogue section, creating an even more vivid picture in the listener’s mind of what happens to the songs’ protagonist. Wonder takes this technique a step further, when the “Innervisions” album is previewed for music and other media journalists. They are blindfolded and driven around on a bus, then finally led into a room to listen to the music. All of this is done at Stevie’s request so that the journalists, for a brief time can experience the world and music from his perspective. “Living For The City” is also covered by a number of artists including Ray Charles, and as part of a medley with The O’Jays “For The Love Of Money” which is recorded by Levert, Troop and Queen Latifah for the film “New Jack City” in 1991.