Sunday, July 8, 2018

"Part-Time Lover" by Stevie Wonder

#1 Alert!
Song#:  2458
Date:  09/07/1985
Debut:  43
Peak:  1 (1 week)
Weeks:  21
Genre:  R&B, Adult Contemporary, Pop

Pop Bits:  Although Wonder wrote and performed nearly all of the soundtrack to The Woman in Red, he had not put out a regular studio solo album since 1980's Hotter Than July, which was the longest stretch between studio albums he'd ever had. He finally buckled down and recorded his twentieth album, In Square Circle. To introduce the album, this track was selected to be the first single. It got a quick start debuting just outside the Top 40 before zooming up to the top spot. The song would be a multi-format hit reaching #1 at Pop, R&B, AC, and Dance. In doing so, it became the first single to reach #1 on all four of those charts. The song also got Wonder a Grammy nod for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male. He would end up winning a Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male, for the album. The hit would help the album get to #5 Pop and #1 R&B. By the end of the year it would be a certified double-platinum seller.

ReduxReview:  I was not a big fan of Wonder's around this time. He lost me after the schmaltzy "I Just Called to Say I Love You" became an annoying hit. I thought Wonder was slacking when he came up with that simplistic tune and hoped he'd get back to business with the new album. He didn't. Wonder has said that his inspiration for this song was two old Supremes hits "You Can't Hurry Love" (#1, 1966) and "My World Is Empty Without You" (#5, 1966). I can kind of hear that, but I thought it sounded quite close (actually very close) to another #1 hit - Hall & Oates' "Maneater." I was seriously waiting for the lawsuit to be filed. The beat, production, rhythm, and parts of the melody were nearly identical to the H&O song. No legal action took place, but there was no denying the similarities between the songs. I highly doubt Wonder consciously mimicked "Maneater," but someone in his camp should have said, " may wanna rethink this." Because the song had already been written (better) as "Maneater," I promptly ignored it and placed it beside "I Just Called" as one of Wonder's worst hits.

ReduxRating:  2/10

Trivia:  Wonder's first single to reach #1 at Pop was 1963's "Fingertips, Pt. 2." With this song hitting #1, the span of time between the two #1's was twenty-two years and three months. That was a record at the time for longevity. He took the record away from Frank Sinatra who had twenty years, eight months between #1's. Cher is the current record holder. The time span between her #1's "Dark Lady" (1974) and "Believe" (1999)  is 24 years, 355 day.


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