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‘Songs in the Key of Life’ Turns 42 This Month

Stevie Wonder’s socially conscious work has made it through the years.

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Sept. 28, 1976 marks the 42nd anniversary of Stevie Wonder’s album “Songs in the Key of Life. The album earned Wonder Album of the Year for Best Pop Vocal Performance at the 19th Annual Grammy Awards. “Songs in the Key of Life” is the 18 studio album by the 25-time Grammy award-winning artist, making it the most successful commercial release of his career and the first American album to debut at number 1 on the Billboard charts. According to Grammy.com, “The album earned Wonder his third Album of the Year Grammy win in four consecutive years.” 

“Songs in the Key of Life” is an album that reflects a happy, confident and self-aware artist. The soulful and socially-conscious album was originally released as a two-disc collection along with a four-song EP. The album includes the funky and upbeat track “I Wish”—a song where Wonder reminisces on the happy memories of his childhood, “Love’s in Need of Love Today” and “Have a Talk With God.” The album also includes a tribute to jazz great Duke Ellington with the song “Sir Duke” as well as a tribute to his then-newborn daughter Aisha Morris with the song “Isn’t She Lovely” which was the first track of the second LP’s vinyl set.

On this album, Wonder is joined by musicians Deniece Williams and Minnie Riperton, who provided the background vocals on the song “Ordinary Pain.” He is also joined by George Benson and Herbie Hancock who appear on the songs “Another Star” and “As” respectively.

The album also earned Wonder his first and only Producer of the Year award. It was also inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and the Library of Congress.

“Songs in the Key of Life” is an album with a crossover of various genres that touches on the themes of love, joy and unity. It allowed him to appeal to a wider audience all while staying true to his soulful sound. It’s just as influential today as it was then. The album, considered one of Wonder’s greatest works, went on to become one of the most influential and celebrated albums of all time.

 

 

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