Stevie Wonder’s Too High is our Song for Sunday.
Last year, we celebrated the 40th anniversary of Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions with a mini retrospect on an iconic album. Just today, I had the pleasure of reading a similar article from Wax Poetics where the magazine spoke to Malcolm Cecil, synth lord and magician behind Innervision’s engineering. It was an arduous task choosing a song from such an seminal piece of work but I decided to go for the opening number as our Song For Sunday.
“I was talking to Stevie, telling him about the different ways he could build chords. We were talking about building chords in fours and fifths. It was really jazzy. I was doing chromatic movements, and he just took it to a whole other place. He got it right away, and then he gave it to the girls to sing as a vocal, which is something I would’ve never thought of. See, that’s how we would do things. I would suggest something, and he would take it to another level. And I loved it. We had a great working relationship. We never disagreed about anything artistic ever.” – Malcolm Cecil on the creation of Too High, from Wax Poetics
The song we know as “Too High” was recorded on 17th April 1972 under the original title “Too High to Touch the Sky”. Addressing the subject of drug abuse, the song is a classic Stevie composition – full of unapologetic funk, a conscious message and all instruments played by the man himself. As far as opening tracks go, you’d be hard pressed to find a better introduction to not only the album but Stevie’s head space at the time: full of spirituality, artistic growth and a vision of the world.
Stream it below.