Inspiration Information  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Inspiration Information is the third album by Shuggie Otis. Released in 1974 on Epic Records, it reached #181 on Billboard's Top 200 Pop Albums list, and its featured single (with the title of the same name) also reached #56 on the U.S. R&B charts.



Widely considered a cult classic, Inspiration Information was Otis' debut project as both an adult and a producer, having been a teenager backed on his two previous solo efforts by his father, R&B pioneer Johnny Otis. The change of overseeing the production himself would result in a less traditional approach to songwriting in regards to Otis' deep upbringing in the blues. In addition, the utilization of analog drum machines gave 'Inspiration' a newer electric sound that at the time were being used by only a handful of Otis' contemporaries, notably by Sly Stone on Sly and the Family Stone's 1971 hit album, There's A Riot Goin' On.

Otis' relationship with Epic came under heavy scrutiny as he would take three years to finish Inspiration and fulfill his three-album contract, as this would also be the final release for Otis on the Epic label.

Inspiration was re-issued on CD by Talking Heads frontman David Byrne's independent label Luaka Bop Records. This version, released on April 3, 2001, included the original album in its entirety as well as four songs taken from Otis' 1971 album Freedom Flight, including "Strawberry Letter 23".

The album was re-released again in 2013 with four previously unreleased tracks from 1971: "Miss Pretty", "Magic", "Things We Like To Do" and "Castle Top Jam". The re-release also features a second CD entitled Wings Of Love featuring 14 previously unreleased live and studio tracks recorded by Shuggie between 1975 and 2000.


Digable Planets sampled "Island Letter" in "For Corners", on Blowout Comb (1994).

Beyoncé sampled "Rainy Day" in "Gift From Virgo", on Dangerously In Love (2003).

J Dilla sampled "Not Available" in "Donuts (Outro)", on Donuts (2006).


Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings covered "Inspiration Information" on the 2009 Red Hot Organization compilation, Dark Was The Night.

Track listing

All tracks composed by Shuggie Otis

  1. "Inspiration Information" - 4:07
  2. "Island Letter" - 4:40
  3. "Sparkle City" - 5:55
  4. "Aht Uh Mi Hed"- 4:14
  5. "Happy House" - 1:08
  6. "Rainy Day" - 2:39
  7. "XL-30" - 2:05
  8. "Pling!" - 4:24
  9. "Not Available" - 2:26


  • Shuggie Otis - Lead & Backing Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Drums, Organ, Piano, Vibraphone, Percussion, Analog Drum Machines
  • Jack Kelso - Saxophones, Flute
  • Jeff Martinez - French Horn
  • Carol Robbins - Harp
  • Doug Wintz, Jim Prindle - Trombone
  • Curt Sleeten, Ron Robbins - Trumpet
  • B. Porter, B. Asher, D. Jones, J. Parker, L. Rosen, M. Zeavin, N. Roth, S. Boone, T. Ziegler - Strings

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Inspiration Information" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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