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I Wish picks up where Sir Duke left off - indeed, the two songs frequently segue into each other during Stevie’s live shows.
We’re in altogether funkier territory here, though. To get things going, Nathan Watts’ walking bass is matched note for note by Stevie’s Rhodes, and then three separately recorded staccato Arp synth parts join the fray. By the time the drums drop, you realise that you’re listening to one of the finest grooves in popular music - something Will Smith knew only too well - and one of Stevie’s greatest songs to boot.
The lyric sees Stevie taking a nostalgic, rose-tinted look back at his childhood; his ‘wish’ - that he could go back to those days - is one that was bound to resonate with record-buyers. Choosing this as Songs in the Key of Life’s lead single was surely a no-brainer and, predictably, it was a chart-topper.
For those listening to the album in its entirety, the only downside is that, just a quarter of the way through, its high watermark has already been reached.