You've Got It Bad Girl

Album: Talking Book (1972)
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Songfacts®:

  • In this song, Stevie Wonder tries to help his lady reconcile her feelings, telling her she's got it bad if she's pushing him away, but if she lets his love in, she'll have it good.

    Depending on your point of view, it can be either very romantic or rather patronizing. Wonder is making a commitment, but he's also discounting her feelings:

    If you try to display an emotion
    That will contradict itself
    You will find your heart just sitting
    Like a statue on a shelf
  • Wonder wrote this song with a singer named Yvonne Wright, whom he may have been romantically involved with as well. They met years earlier when she was in a group called Pride, Passion And Pain. Wonder liked her voice and decided he wanted to know her better, so he brought her into the fold and they started writing songs together. They also co-wrote another track on the Talking Book album: "I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever)."

    It appears there was an odd love triangle happening at this time. About a year earlier, Wonder married Syreeta Wright, improbably, no relation to Yvonne. He and Syreeta also wrote songs together, including the Talking Book track "Blame It On The Sun." They reportedly got divorced sometime in 1972 (the same year the album was released), but worked together a few more years.
  • "You've Got It Bad Girl" broke ground musically with a wild assortment of sounds Stevie Wonder pieced together into something funky and enlivened. After gaining independence from Motown in 1971 when he turned 21, Wonder remained with the label but could make music however he liked. He tracked down the engineers Robert Margouleff and Malcolm Cecil, who created a system for synching together synthesizers and other instruments called TONTO, and hired them to adapt it for him. Wonder was performing live at the time so he had band members available, but he played most of the instruments on the Talking Book album by himself. "You've Got It Bad Girl" is mostly Moog bass, Fender Rhodes piano, synthesizer and drums, all played by wonder. The only other instrument is congas, played by Daniel Ben Zebulon.

    Wonder did most of the singing on the album as well, but on this track he used backing vocalists Jim Gilstrap and Lani Groves, who can also be heard on "You Are The Sunshine Of My Life."
  • This was used as the B-side of "Superstition," the first single from the album.
  • Quincy Jones released his version of this song on his 1973 covers album, which he also called You've Got It Bad Girl. He included a version of "Superstition" on the album as well.

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