Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” Lyrics Meaning
In “Superstition”, Stevie Wonder is preaching against the idea of being superstitious. And the way he defines this mode of thinking is as ‘believing in things you don’t understand’.
So Stevie was well aware of some of the popular superstitions of the day, which he addresses in the lyrics. These include walking under a ladder, the number 13 and breaking a mirror, which are all considered to be unlucky incidences. But the way Wonder flips it is by basically making fun of such ideas. Thus we have for example a fictional character who is a “13-month old baby” that “broke the looking glass”. And the result is apparently attracting the attention of “the devil” himself and a resultant “seven years of bad luck”.
But ultimately, what the singer is asserting is that people who hold to such beliefs are adding additional suffering to their lives. And as such a person should not go as far as to embrace what are comical ideas pertaining to good and bad fortune, which the believer him or herself realistically has no comprehension of.
Facts about “Superstition”
This is the lead single from one of two albums Stevie Wonder dropped in 1972, “Talking Book”. And the track was released by Tamla Records (aka Motown) on 28 October of that year.
This song was written and produced by Stevie Wonder. And he also played most of the instruments throughout.
“Superstition” went on to become one of his biggest, topping the Billboard Hot 100 (and Billboard’s R&B listing) in addition to peaking at number 11 on the UK Singles Chart and charting in a handful of other countries.
Indeed the two nations in which “Superstition” has been certified Platinum are Italy and the UK.
“Superstition” was covered in 1973 by a group known as Beck, Bogert & Appice. They were allowed to do so as one member of the trio, Jeff Beck, actually helped Stevie Wonder create “Superstition”. In fact Mr. Beck went on to state that by Stevie recording and releasing the song first (which was apparently against some type of handshake agreement they had made), the group were actually denied a hit. In fact Berry Gordy of Motown allegedly made the decision to make this the lead single from “Talking Book” specifically for the purpose of making sure Stevie’s version of “Superstition” got out before that of Beck, Bogert & Appice. But at the end of the day, Jeff definitely appreciates Wonder’s rendition also.
Another notable name of the list of artists who covered this tune are The Jackson 5. And their rendition can be found on the live album “The Jackson 5 in Japan” (1973).
There is also a famous live recording of this song which Stevie and his band performed, holding nothing back due to the venue, on the children’s television show “Sesame Street” in 1973. Indeed when this hit was dropped, Wonder himself was only 22-years old and just transitioning from someone many viewed as a child star to a wider range of audiences, as “Talking Book” was already his 15th studio album.
There are also a number of major-motion films, particularly it would seems of the sci-fi genre, that have featured this track. These include the following:
- “The Thing” (1982)
- “Vampire in Brooklyn” (1995)
- “I, Robot” (2004)