As it’s Stevie Wonder’s 70th birthday, we’re taking a trip back to 1972 to revisit the moment a 22-year old talent named Stevie Wonder joined rock heroes The Rolling Stones on their US tour. Together they performed an incredible medley with one another.
In 1972, there were two artists that were flying up the charts. One, the bouncing dominating seventies rock gods, The Rolling Stones and the other was the up-and-coming R&B soul-man, Stevie Wonder. On one special stage, the two artists would join each other for a perfect performance of their respective hits ‘Satisfaction‘ and ‘Uptight’.
With the Stones’ Exile on Main Street putting the band firmly on the list as one of the best bands in the business — mixing the blues with the pulsating energy of the new decade — Keith Richards, Mick Jagger and the rest of the band set out on yet another world tour. With Wonder’s own LP Music of My Mind rising up the charts, there seemed to be no other option for the Stones’ opening spot on the tour.
The 22-year-old Stevie Wonder took to the tour with unbridled exuberance and quickly became a talking point of the mammoth event. To be supporting an act like The Rolling Stones was one thing but to be stealing the show was something different altogether. Wonder told New York Times that the tour was something like he’d never experienced before, “No matter how many hassles we’ve had, the good vibes have more than offset the bad ones,” he said.
“Music is like a religion to me, you know, and the more sharing that takes place between the musicians and the audience the more spiritual the music becomes. I like to have a lot of time to stretch out — to get that spirit moving — and we only get to play for 30 or 40 minutes, but we’ve still managed to make a lot of people have soulful experiences.”
Backed by the bustling horn section, Wonder’s impressive vocal, and a degree of superstardom that rivalled the headline act, Wonder’s set had become a huge performance. The Rolling Stones, who know a good show when they see one, soon took advantage of their effervescent support act and made Wonder a part of their closing set.
For four nights during the tour, Wonder would join the band for a medley of Wonder’s iconic1966 hit ‘Uptight (Everything’s Alright)’ with the Stones’ ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’.
The video below shows one of those nights as Wonder and The Rolling Stones take part in one of the most joyous closing numbers you’re ever likely to see. After pushing through ‘Uptight’ with a swelling horn section, Jagger helps Wonder to centre stage to finish off the jubilant scenes of ‘Satisfaction’ and end one hell of a night for the crowd.
Watch Stevie Wonder and The Rolling Stones’ medley below:
It was a tour that captured the imaginations of the rock and roll world. But it was full of the growing concerns of The Rolling Stones’ swelling hedonism. It was this concern which had previously prevented the footage of Wonder and the Stones’ being released. Despite filmmakers Robert Frank and Daniel Seymour capturing the footage for their cinéma vérité documentary Cocksucker Blues, the Stones kept the footage out of the public eye.
That was until YouTube became a refuge of the bootleg video and has been hosting Cocksucker Blues ever since. Below you can watch the full documentary and see the Stones in full flow.
Source: Rolling Stone