A musical reprieve: Higher Ground

Here’s Higher Ground.

Take what meaning you like from this great song.

Stevie wrote this song in 3 hours in a sense of urgency, “as if I had to get it done. I felt something was going to happen. I didn’t know what or when, but I felt something.” He subsequently survived a car crash that put him in a coma. He felt the song was a premonition of his second chance in life and his chance to do more and do it better.

This song comes from his 1973 album Innervisions.

Here’s the Playing for Change version:

And the original:

“The lyrics deal with getting a second chance (“So darn glad he let me try it again”) and making the most of it. Strangely, Wonder recorded it three months before he was almost killed on his way to a benefit concert in Durham, North Carolina. The car he was riding in was behind a truck carrying a load of logs, which stopped suddenly, sending a log through the windshield and hitting Wonder in the head. The accident put Wonder in a coma for four days. His road manager and good friend, Ira Tucker Jr., knew that Stevie liked to listen to music at high volume, so he tried singing this song directly into his ear. At first he got no response, but the next day, he tried again and Wonder’s fingers started moving in time with the song – the first sign that he was going to recover.

Recalling his time in the coma, Wonder said, “For a few days I was definitely in a much better spiritual place that made me aware of a lot of things that concern my life and my future and what I have to do to reach another higher ground. This is like my second chance for life, to do something or to do more and to face the fact that I am alive.”

Innervisions was released on August 3, 1973, just three days before Wonder’s accident.
Guided by a mix of Christian morality and astrological mysticism, Wonder believed he was writing a “special song” whose lyrics suggested a coming day of judgment. “I did the whole thing in three hours” he told Q magazine. It was almost as if I had to get it done. I felt something was going to happen. I didn’t know what or when, but I felt something.”

Text above is from Songfacts

People keep on learnin’
Soldiers keep on warrin’
World keep on turnin’
Cause it won’t be too long

Powers keep on lyin’
While your people keep on dyin’
World keep on turnin’
Cause it won’t be too long

I’m so darn glad he let me try it again
Cause my last time on earth I lived a whole world of sin
I’m so glad that I know more than I knew then
Gonna keep on tryin’
Till I reach the highest ground

Teachers keep on teachin’
Preachers keep on preachin’
World keep on turnin’
Cause it won’t be too long
Oh no

Lovers keep on lovin’
[From: http://www.elyrics.net%5D
Believers keep on believin’
Sleepers just stop sleepin’
Cause it won’t be too long
Oh no

I’m so glad that he let me try it again
Cause my last time on earth I lived a whole world of sin
I’m so glad that I know more than I knew then
Gonna keep on tryin’
Till I reach my highest ground…Whew!
Till I reach my highest ground
No one’s gonna bring me down
Oh no
Till I reach my highest ground
Don’t you let nobody bring you down (they’ll sho ’nuff try)
God is gonna show you higher ground
He’s the only friend you have around
Lyrics from eLyrics.net

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