Looking Back, also known as Anthology, is a triple LP anthology by American soul musician Stevie Wonder, released in 1977 on Motown Records. Since its release in 12-inch triple LP format, it has not been reissued and is considered a limited edition. The album chronicles 40 songs from Wonder’s first Motown period, which precedes the classic period of his critically acclaimed albums.
Between 1963 and the end of 1971, Wonder placed over 25 songs on Billboard Hot 100. Twenty-four of those — including such radio staples as “Fingertips, Pt. 2”, “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)”, “I Was Made to Love Her”, “For Once in My Life”, “My Cherie Amour”, and “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” — appear on Looking Back. Wonder’s recordings in the ’60s stand apart from most Motown acts partially because he was paired with producers and writers who very rarely worked with the Temptations, Supremes, etc. In his early years, Wonder was often produced by Clarence Paul and/or William Stevenson and, during the golden years, by Henry Cosby. Then in 1970, Wonder started producing himself, beginning with Signed, Sealed & Delivered. Most of his singles were written by Wonder himself in tandem with a variety of others, or by Ron Miller. The hits alternated between stomping barn-burners and mid-tempo, understated ballads.
Before the long-awaited Wonder box set, At the Close of a Century, was issued, this triple-album set was the ultimate early Wonder collection. It contains every major hit and many other vital singles from 1962–1971, showing his evolution from Ray Charles’ disciple to assembly-line hitmaker to individualistic artist. Unlike its other anthologies, which have been carved down from three-volume vinyl LPs to double-disc sets, Motown simply deleted this one altogether, although vigilant collectors may be able to obtain it through used record stores. It wouldn’t be until 1999’s At the Close of a Century that another Stevie Wonder anthology which included material from this period would be released.
This compilation marks the first release of Stevie Wonder’s 1967 original recording of “Until You Come Back To Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do),” which was a 1973 hit for Aretha Franklin. It’s also the only collection of his to feature material from his instrumental album Eivets Rednow.