Saturday, July 2, 2022

EUR VIDEO THROWBACK: Stevie Wonder’s Connection to the ‘Good Times’ Theme Song

Sugar Shack painting by Ernie Barnes
Sugar Shack – Ernie Barnes, featured in the closing credits of “Good Times”

*Did you know that “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” and the theme song from the sitcom “Good Times” have two singers in common, and neither are Stevie Wonder?

Wonder’s second single from his 15th studio album, “Talking Book,” topped the U.S. singles chart on this day in 1973.

That song went on to win a Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.

As you know, the song’s first four lines are not from Wonder, but by Jim Gilstrap, one of the most sought-after session musicians in the industry, and his girlfriend Lani Groves.

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Gilstrap had the hit single “Swing Your Daddy” in 1975, and Groves was often given space to shine during Wonder’s concerts.

Listen below.

But by far, they are best known for co-singing the theme song from “Good Times.”

In addition to providing the intro to “Sunshine,” Gilstrap, Groves and Gloria Barley also sang backup on the song as part of Wonder’s Wonderlove backing band. With their assist, the song became Wonder’s third number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. “Sunshine” was also a Grammy nominee for both Record of the Year and Song of the Year, losing to Olivia Newton-John’s “I Honestly Love You” and Barbara Streisand’s “The Way We Were,” respectively.

“Sunshine” was the follow up to “Talking Book’s” first single “Superstition,” which earned Wonder his first ever Grammy Award – winning for both Best Pop Vocal Performance Male and Best R&B Vocal Performance Male.

Watch Wonder receive the latter below:

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