In this song, Stevie Wonder envisions the people of the world coming together in peace, a vision he shared with the reggae superstar Bob Marley. In this world, Zimbabwe is free from war ("Peace has come to Zimbabwe") and Third World countries are lifted from poverty ("Third World's right on the one").
The song was not written as fantasy: Wonder really thought he could pull this off with Marley's help. The two met in 1975 when Wonder played a concert in Kingston to support the Jamaican Institute for the Blind (this would be the last time Marley performed with The Wailers). They became good friends and talked about holding a huge concert event where Marley would play his Survival album start to finish and Wonder would do the same with Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants (both albums were released in 1979).
Plans for the project were thwarted when Marley got cancer; he injured his toe playing soccer in 1977, and when it became infected, he refused to have it amputated due to his Rastafarian beliefs, which led to the disease. The Hotter Than July album was released in September 1980; Marley died in May 1981.
Wonder's grand vision may seem idealist, but he sometimes met his outlandish expectations: Another song on the album, "Happy Birthday," is a tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr., and Wonder's efforts to get King's birthday declared a national holiday paid off when US President Ronald Reagan signed it into law in 1983.
Wonder pays tribute to Bob Marley in this song, using a reggae rhythm and mentioning Marley in the line, "Marley's hot on the box." The line, "Joined as children in Jah" is also a reference to Marley, as "Jah" is the Rastafarian name for God.
The title is a reference to the Bob Marley song "Jamming," which appears on his 1977 album Exodus. Wonder's message is a take on what Marley espoused in that song, where "Jah children must unite" and they would be "jammin' in the name of the Lord." In Wonder's song, they are "Jammin' until the break of dawn."
The phrase "Master Blaster" is never uttered by Wonder in this song: it is sung by the backup singers in the line, "We're in the middle of the makin's of the master blaster jammin'." In this context, the "Master Blaster" is God or whatever higher power you believe in.
The album title comes from the opening line in this song: "Everyone's feeling pretty, it's hotter than July."
Tana from FilthyWhat an ignorant comment. The song isn't about Mugabe - it celebrated the end of the fecking war and recognition of the Republic of Zimbabwe. He wasn't even elected until 1980...Entitled perspectives skew reality...offensive.
Robert from TorontoFor Amelia in London: The drummer on the original recording was Dennis Davis, a very well-known session player who did a lot of work with David Bowie, among others.
John from Nashville, TnThis song inspired the gospel song "You Brought The Sunshine" by the Clark Sisters. The song became a #1 gospel hit, a top 20 r&b hit, and the album of the same name went "gold", quite a feat for a gospel act. "Sunshine" has since been covered by several acts and is now considered a gospel classic.
Amelia from London, United KingdomAmazing song, does anyone know who it is drumming on this track?
Caitlin from Edinburgh, ScotlandWasn't this actually to celebrate Zimbabwean independence? "Peace has come to Zimbabwe Third world's right on the one" Hollow words now Even at the time it was obvious Mugabe was evil.
Jeff from Columbia, ScSuch a shame these two never got together, the music would have been so beautiful and jammin'
Dave from Cardiff, WalesDJ Luck and MC Neat released a cover version of "Master Blaster" which made #10 in 2000, exactly 20 years after Stevie Wonder first took the song to #2 in the UK Chart
Flo from Toulouse, FranceGreat song, I love this reggae riddim! Bob and Stevie were friends, they played live together in Jamaica in the 70's. A big tour was planned for 1981 but... :( Bob we miss you.
Mark from Los Angeles, CaYes, a tribute to Bob Marley. But, an infected can not become cancerous. Bob Marley did injure his FOOT while playing soccer, and it was during the treatment of his foot injury that doctors discovered cancerous cells in his TOE, which later spread throughout his lungs and brain.