IN THE TRUNK: Stevie Wonder – “Sylvia” (Audio)

Sylvia” is one of my favorite Stevie Wonder songs. It’s not very well known but is a gem from the 1966 Down to Earth album recorded on Motown’s Tamla label. Down to Earth also contains hits such as “Hey Love” and “A Place in the Sun.” I first heard this song on a vinyl compilation many years ago and would always revisit it. It’s a simple love ballad about a girl but like much of Stevie’s work, its beauty lies in its simplicity.

Sylvia” makes me think of slow dancing, something I don’t see too much of at clubs or even house parties these days. It is epic in its simple arrangement of background vocals, drums, bass guitar, and violins. It’s almost as if he’s confessing his love before a woman leaves for a long trip. It is as if you will miss this chance to say what you really feel if you don’t take it. No one wants to live life thinking “what if” or “what could have been.” By telling this woman he loves her, Stevie expresses his fear of vulnerability to this girl. Who knows what she said, but we hear how he feels with these words. I can’t say much more, listen for yourself. Much respect Stevie!


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Parent, illustrator, author, owner of Come Bien Books, muralist, activist, and self-proclaimed believer in the power of music and its infinite sonic vibrations. Follow him @RobertTres


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  2. Marlon Cole

    November 23, 2010 at 7:46 am

    i can dig it. you should also check out Marvin Gaye's, Here, My Dear Album < another classic.

  3. Robert Trujillo

    November 23, 2010 at 8:56 am

    Mannnn, love that LP. My boy Simon turned me onto it. "Sparrow" is my JOINT!!!!

  4. Vanessa Warren

    November 23, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    Yes!!!! Here, My Dear is brilliant, especially when you know the history behind its inception. My favourite on the album is "Time To Get It Together." You guys should read "Divided Soul" by David Ritz — an amazing biography!