Stevie Wonder: Signed, Sealed Delivered I’m Yours

13 Nov

You can credit turnout, or the gender gap, or the Hispanic vote, or Colin Powell’s endorsement, or Hurricane Sandy, or New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s opening act, but I’ve got the biggest reason for President Barack Obama’s re-election last week: better taste in music.

I can take four more years of Stevie Wonder, who surely is one of the President’s likes on Facebook (and one of mine); I don’t think I could take four more minutes of Ted Nugent (his music, not him personally), who liked losing candidate Mitt Romney.

(And lest anyone think this is a political position being taken, the officially endorsed candidate of Night by Night was Louis Jordan, who is 37 years dead, and his Swing Ticket campaign of 1952, which is 60 years expired. Louis Jordan for President. )

You can say that Obama’s victory, was, uh, signed, sealed and delivered by the arts. His theme song was Wonder’s and he campaigned with Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan (who, prophetic as ever, predicted an Obama landslide on his Facebook page); Romney’s musical supporters included Nugent, Kid Rock and Meat Loaf. The best part of the latter’s musical work was Phil Rizzuto’s play-by-play on Paradise by the Dashboard Light, followed closely by the contributions of E Street Band members Roy Bittan and Max Weinberg on the same song.

Wonder wrote what became Obama’s theme song with the late Syreeta Wright; as the song became a hit, so did the couple. They married in 1970 — Wonder just turned 20 — though the songwriting partnership lasted longer. They divorced in 1974; Wright died of heart failure in 2004.

I’m not sure Signed, Sealed Delivered would be my first choice as theme song from Stevie Wonder for a campaign, but maybe Heaven Help Us All or I Wish wouldn’t convey the right message. “. . .as a political standard (Signed, Sealed Delivered I’m Yours’) opening line (“Like a fool I went and stayed too long”) is questionable,” wrote Claire Suddath on time.com. “Ditto the song’s bridge — ‘I’ve done a lot of foolish things/that I really didn’t mean.’ ”

Speaking of foolish things, my greatest disappointment at the Romney-Paul Ryan loss is the loss of the reaction of Rage Against The Machine — a Ryan favorite, whose passion for the group was unrequited (I can only guess who Joe Biden has on his play list). It would have been neat to see Rage Against The Machine change its name to Rage Against the Administration.

Sources: songfacts.com; time.com; steviewonder.org.uk; wikipedia.org

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