Nancy Wilson: Uptight (Everything’s Alright)

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Posted January 19, 2011 by J Matthew Cobb in HiDef

Sultry jazz singer puts her own swing to Stevie Wonder’s upbeat ’66 hit

Stevie Wonder’s “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)” came out swinging from Motown’s hit factory and soaring swiftly up the pop charts to No. 3 in early 1966 and parked at No. 1 R&B for five weeks. It was a breakthrough for Wonder since “Fingertips.” It also gave him the chance to show off some of his writing skills since it was the first time he co-wrote one of his songs.

 After the Supremes decided to record a cover of the hit song, Nancy Wilson over at Capitol Records initiated her spin of it. With Oliver Nelson’s dazzling Big Bang-styled arrangement featuring killer horns and a kicking tempo, Wilson adroitly struts across the song like an diva secure with her competence. At certain moments, she slides across the lyrics like a sly burglar and then, out of nowhere, attacks the notes as if she’s in a Western dual. Producer David Cavanaugh did his best to bridge the Motown world with Wilson’s trademark jazz. What Wilson did was re-write the song as her own. Many covers of “Uptight” are out there, but none was as fierce and immense as Wilson’s one-minute and fifty-seven second take.

J MATTHEW COBB


About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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