Entertainment Weekly - 12/17/99, p.81
"...Not a dud among them - boxed sets don't get much better than this....in a word, magnificent..." - Rating: A+
Q - 1/01, p.95
Included in Q's "5 Best Re-Issues of 2000".
Q - 5/00, pp.122-35 stars out of 5
- "...The most consistent and intriguing artist America has produced....70 clunker-free tracks....Only the absolute cream is here..."
CMJ - 2/7/00, p.24
"...This remarkable collection contains most of his familiar classics, focusing on material from the 70s....Stevie at his funkiest can rival any singer-songwriter of any era..."
The Source - 3/00, p.258
"...a wonderfully exhaustive crash course on r&b music....this retrospective is a must-have. It's a firm testament to Wonder's unquestionable genius..."
Mojo (Publisher) - 5/00, p.96
"...His career demonstrates [that] genius has no off-switch....his abundant natural gifts were driven by twin urges of innovation and emancipation..."
NME (Magazine) - 3/25/00, p.408 out of 10
- "...The definitive voice of soul rapture....[this is] incontrovertibly fantastic music."
Includes 96-page full-color booklet.
Personnel includes: Stevie Wonder (vocals, various instruments, harmonica, piano, Fender Rhodes piano, Clavinet, keyboards, Moog & ARP synthesizers, drums, cabasa, percussion, vocoder, sound effects); Luther Vandross (vocals); Dean Parks (acoustic & electric guitars); Babyface (acoustic guitar, keyboards, background vocals); Michael Sembello, Buzzy Feiton, Earl Klugh (guitar); Bobbi Humphrey (flute); Greg Phillinganes (piano, keyboards); Herbie Hancock (keyboards); James Jamerson (acoustic & electric basses); Nathan East (bass); Benny Benjamin, Uriel Jones (drums); Lenny Castro (congas); Sheila E. (percussion); Betty Wright, Michael Jackson, Minnie Ripperton, Paul Anka, George Benson, Philip Bailey (background vocals).
Producers include: Berry Gordy, Henry Cosby, Clarence Paul, Don Hunter, Harvey Fuqua.
Compilation producer: Harry Weinger.
Includes liner notes by David Ritz and Leonard Pitts Jr.
Digitally remastered using 24-bit technology by Kevin Reeves.
Personnel: Stevie Wonder (Fender Rhodes piano, drums); Dean Parks, Ben Bridges (guitar, acoustic guitar); Earl Klugh, Michael Sembello (guitar); Ralph Hammer (acoustic guitar); David T. Walker (electric guitar); Hank DeVito (steel guitar); Dorothy Ashby (harp); Bobbi Humphrey (flute); Hank Redd (saxophone, alto saxophone); Bob Malach (saxophone); Raymond Maldonado (trumpet, percussion); Steve Madaio, Larry Gittens (trumpet); Clarence Bell (organ); Greg Phillinganes, Herbie Hancock (keyboards); Malcolm Cecil, Robert Margouleff (ARP synthesizer, Moog synthesizer); James Jamerson (acoustic bass); Dennis Davis, Alvino Bennett, Raymond Lee Pounds (drums); Kwasi "Rocky" Dzidzornu, Lenny Castro, Daniel Ben Zebulon (congas); Sheila Wilkerson (bongos); Yusuf Roahman (shaker); Nathan Alford, Jr., Sheila E., Nathan Watts, Earl DeRouen, Bobbye Hall (percussion); Robert A. Arbittier (computer); Minnie Riperton, The Jackson 5 (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Kevin Reeves.
Arrangers: Clarence Paul; Paul Riser; Stevie Wonder; David Van De Pitte.
The 4-CD set AT THE CLOSE OF A CENTURY is a chronological history of Stevie Wonder's commercial successes. The first CD documents his early Motown years on tracks that emphasize his frenetic singing and superb harmonica playing. The songs taken from MUSIC OF MY MIND, his first fully written and produced effort, show significant vocal development. CDs two and three include material from INNERVISIONS, SONGS IN THE KEY OF LIFE, and TALKING BOOK, a creative period that is considered Wonder's strongest. It is on these cuts that Wonder uses his most varied production techniques and instrumentation to share his vivid creative spirit.
The fourth disc continues with pop hits recorded during the '80s and '90s, beginning with three songs he recorded for MUSIQUARIUM, and concluding with his duet with Babyface, "How Come, How Long." Disc four should surprise listeners who may remember only "I Just Called to Say I Love You" from Wonder's '80s work. Tracks like "Overjoyed" and "Ribbon in the Sky" make clear that Wonder had far more than one great song during the period. This box set is a great introduction to Stevie Wonder, and even after listening to all four discs in succession, fans will be left wanting more.