Wonder left Motown in 1971 and recorded two albums which he used as a bargaining tool while negotiating with Motown. Eventually, the label agreed to his demands for full creative control and the rights to his own songs. The two albums, Where I'm Coming From and Music of My Mind, are classics of the era. This is especially true of Music of My Mind, which was more than the typical collection of singles and was an actual LP, full-length artistic statement. Talking Book and Innervisions continued Wonder's critical and popular acclaim, addressing more and more political issues as his music progressed. This continued on Fulfillingness' First Finale (1974) and his magnum opus, Songs in the Key of Life.
Wonder's next album was the confusing and progressive Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants. The album was panned at the time of its release but has come to be regarded as a classic album, though generally considered inferior to most of his other work. Hotter Than July (1980) was simpler, and well received, becoming Wonder's first platinum selling album. Since 1980, Wonder has continued to release singles and albums, however, he has not sustained the level of critical acclaim and mass popularity he once had. Wonder received Kennedy Center Honors in 1999.
His track Superstition is one of the most distinctive examples of the sound of the Clavinet.