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Today's SoundTRAX comes from "Jungle Fever" and has a music legend behind it.

The soundtrack cover of "Jungle Fever" features colorful illustrations with a drawing of Stevie Wonder.
Universal Pictures
Jungle Fever soundtrack

Motown legend Stevie Wonder provides the soundtrack for Spike Lee's 1991 film.

As Black History Month continues, it's only natural that a Spike Lee film would make its way to SoundTRAX.

Lee has never shied away from controversy. He is not afraid to provoke or spark conversations about race— not so much for shock value, but to raise up people of color and shine a light on the inequity and racism that abounds in the world.

In 1991 Lee did that with Jungle Fever, a film about an interracial relationship between a white Italian woman named Angie (Annabella Sciorra) and Flipper, a Black man played by Wesley Snipes.

Their friends on both sides disapprove, as do their families. It also doesn't help that Flipper happens to be married as well.

Lee himself plays Flipper's reproachful best friend and the rest of the cast is even more impressive: The legendary married duo Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, two-time Oscar winner Anthony Quinn, Samuel L. Jackson, plus John and Nicholas Turturro, and making their film debuts, Halle Berry and Queen Latifah.

With that cast you better bring out the big guns for the soundtrack, right? Lee did just that by putting a Motown titan in charge of the music. A gentleman with 25 Grammy Awards (26 if you count a Lifetime Achievement Award) as well as the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Stevie Wonder.

Wonder wrote 10 of the 11 songs and the album became his fifth in a row to top the Billboard R&B Albums Chart.

In true Wonder fashion he plays nearly every instrument on the release, plus his ex-wife Syreeta Wright contributes backing vocals on a song, as do Boyz II Men.

For today's SoundTRAX selection it's Stevie Wonder from Jungle Fever, with "Gotta Have You."

SoundTRAX is a dive into notable music from iconic films and TV shows every Monday-Thursday at 8:10 a.m.

Mel is the WFPK morning host. Email Mel at mfisher@lpm.org.

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