Baseball Related Songs: “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder

It has been a while, but in today’s episode of “Baseball Related Songs,” we pay attention to Superstition performed by Stevie Wonder. A great song from the early seventies with a clear link to baseball, even though there is no baseball in the song itself.

Superstition was released on October 24, 1972. It was the lead single of Stevie Wonder’s fifteenth studio album named Talking Book. The song describes superstition and its negative effects.

“Superstition” reached number one in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in January 1973 and on the soul singles chart. It was Wonder’s first number-one single since “Fingertips, Part. Two” in 1963. It peaked at number eleven in the UK Singles Chart in February 1973. In November 2004, Rolling Stone ranked the song number 74 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. It was re-ranked number 73 on its 2010 list, and number 12 on its 2021 list. At the 16th Grammy Awards, the song earned Wonder two Grammys: Best Rhythm & Blues Song and “Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male”.

Until “Superstition,” Wonder played almost all instruments in his songs by himself. This would change with “Superstition.” Guitarist Jeff Beck was a great admirer of Stevie Wonder’s work. Wonder preferred to let others play the guitar in his songs. He liked a collaboration with Beck, so an arrangement was made quickly. Beck became involved in the sessions that would become the Talking Book album, in return for Wonder writing him a song.
Between the album sessions, Beck came up with the opening drum beat. Wonder told Beck to keep playing while he improvised over the top of it. He improvised most of the song, including the riff. Beck and Wonder created a rough demo for the song that day.

But what is the link between “Superstition” and baseball? Well, if there is one sport where superstition plays a very important role, it is baseball. Take the Curse of the Bambino for example, or players jumping across the foul lines when they enter the field, as stepping on it would give them bad luck.

Many baseball players, batters, pitchers, and fielders perform extensive and repetitive routines before pitches and at-bats because of superstition. The desire to keep a number they have been successful with, is a common thing in baseball. Anything that happens can be the initiator of a new superstition.

The lyrics of “Superstiton” are as follows:

Very superstitious,
Writing’s on the wall,
Very superstitious,
Ladders bout’ to fall,
Thirteen month old baby,
Broke the lookin’ glass
Seven years of bad luck,
The good things in your past

When you believe in things
That you don’t understand,
Then you suffer,
Superstition aint the way


Very superstitious,
Wash your face and hands,
Rid me of the problem,
Do all that you can,
Keep me in a daydream,
Keep me goin’ strong,
You don’t wanna save me,
Sad is the soul

When you believe in things
That you don’t understand,
Then you suffer,
Superstition ain’t the way,
Yeh, yeh

Very superstitious,
Nothin’ more to say,
Very superstitious,
The devil’s on his way,
Thirteen month old baby,
Broke the lookin’ glass,
Seven years of bad luck,
Good things in your past

When you believe in things
That you don’t understand,
Then you suffer,
Superstition ain’t the way,
No, no, no

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