Songs in the Key of Life. Love's in Need of Love Today; Have a Talk with God; Village Ghetto Land; Contusion; Sir Duke; I Wish; Knocks Me Off My Feet; Pastime. Songs in the Key of Life · Frequently bought together · Customers who viewed this item also viewed · More items to explore · Special offers and product promotions. 'Songs In The Key Of Life': Revisiting Stevie Wonder's Magnum Opus · 1 Isn't She Lovely · 2 Joy Inside My Tears · 3 Black Man · 4 Ngiculela-Es Una Historia-I Am.
Songs in the key of life music -
Its ambition and scope were unprecedented, and he never approached its caliber or impact again. Kelly to Kanye West , yet there is no major biography, no documentary, nothing that presents the full sweep of the most dominant and defining artist of the s. And make no mistake—it was an era of superstar acts and chart-busting albums, but no one was as universally loved, respected, and honored as he was.
To be sure, Wonder has done himself no favors in getting his story told. Its ambition and scope were unprecedented, its power and resonance were timeless—and when it was done, he never approached its caliber or impact again. In , a decade into an already-legendary career, Wonder celebrated his 21st birthday by allowing his contract with Motown Records to expire, holding out for a new deal which gave him a higher royalty rate and creative control over his work. He responded with two albums in , the breakthrough Music of My Mind and his first true masterwork, Talking Book.
Wonder, expressing frustration with America in the aftermath of Watergate and the never-ending war in Vietnam, had started to talk about quitting the music industry and moving to Ghana to work with handicapped children.
He got as far as starting to make plans for a farewell concert. Though there were murmurs about an album release later that year, Wonder first took time off, then kept adding songs to the stockpile he had amassed, then decided there was more mixing and post-production required. Two years might not seem like a long break between records now, but at the time, it was unheard of, especially from the biggest star in the game. Motown flew press and everyone who had worked on the album to the Long View Farm studio in Massachusetts for the first playback and a battery of interviews with Wonder, presenting everybody with autographed copies of the album.
Yet this was the very rare case in which there was simply no way to overhype the music. The sound drew effortlessly from funk, pop, jazz, Latin styles. Sometimes, more is more. Certainly, the public understood. Songs in the Key of Life entered the album charts at No. Inevitably, Wonder won his third straight Album of the Year award at the Grammys he missed the ceremony because he was visiting Nigeria at the time. It was as if, at the ripe old age of 26, he was bored by the idea of just writing hit songs.
Turning his attention to the crusade for a national holiday to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. The album was more than just a masterpiece; it was the culmination of all of the potential that Stevie Wonder showed since his days as an year-old prodigy.
And within a few months, disco was the focus for new Black music, while in the parks and playgrounds of the Bronx and beyond, hip-hop was taking shape for the next generation.
The sound of Songs in the Key of Life never stopped reverberating. Elton John and Prince said that it was their favorite album. Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston sang its praises. Mary J. Blige and Luther Vandross covered its songs. I'm really trying to compete with Innervisions and Songs in the Key of Life.
It sounds musically blasphemous to say something like that, but why not set that as your bar?
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Songs in the key of life music -
The superstar began to openly discuss quitting the music industry altogether and moving to Ghana, where he believed his ancestral lineage could be traced. There, he planned to devote his considerable energy to assisting handicapped children and other humanitarian causes. Brightly colored dashiki tunics replaced his standard Motown-issue mod suits, an outward expression of the changes he felt within.
Wonder briefly touched on his fascination with the African nation in a interview with Rolling Stone , and soon these abstract notions began to solidify into something more concrete. During a press conference in Los Angeles the following March, he tentatively announced a final concert tour slated for the end of — when his recording contract was set to expire — with all proceeds earmarked for Ghanaian charities.
He hardly needed the leverage. Knowing that he stood to lose his most consistent seller to a life of philanthropy — or lucrative offers from rivals at Epic and Arista Records — the label chief was prepared to move mountains of cash.
At the time, it was the biggest deal that had ever been done in the music industry. But I had to do it, because there was no way I was going to lose Stevie. They never had an artist in 13 years. They had single records, they managed to create a name in certain areas, but they never came through with a major, major artist.
The imprint was a shining African-American success story. It is vital that people in our business — particularly the black creative community, including artists, writers and producers — make sure that Motown stays emotionally stable, spiritually strong and economically healthy.
I believe in him enough to do this. I believe in the gamble. The final title came to him in a dream: Songs in the Key of Life. For Wonder, the banner was a personal dare to expand his compositional range. More often than not, he could be found in one of those spaces, sometimes for 48 hours at a time, chasing his muse with a rotating crew of engineers and support musicians. He did more songs in those two years I think than he had done before.
Then Wonder called him from the recording studio and casually informed him that he had added another verse. Could he whip up some more lyrics in the next 10 minutes? The band was waiting. We went to the studio and that was where you were. The enormous instrument boasted three keyboards, multi-octave foot pedals, ribbon controller, a galaxy of buttons to recall sounds and modulate pitches, and even a built-in bench.
Intended as a prototype for future consumer synths, only a handful were ever made — let alone sold. Wonder bought two. The GX-1 had much to recommend itself to the multi-instrumentalist. Realistic for the time instrument samples allowed him to single-handedly layer complex orchestral beds. And unlike others synths available in that era, it was polyphonic, which allowed him to play multiple keys at once and create lush backing tracks in a fraction of the time. The devotees were pulled in off the street on in a spur-of-the-moment burst of creativity.
The main room was not very live-sounding, but it was very big. The blend of higher consciousness and social consciousness, the eternal and the urgent, gave voice to the dreams swirling inside the young maestro.
But it was another vocal cameo that hit closest to home. Wonder became a father on February 5th, , when partner Yolanda Simmons gave birth to Aisha Morris. The label had effectively served as a grammar school for the former child star, and the fun afternoon triggered a wave of nostalgia. He hastily scribed new lyrics about those early days, and at 3 a. Her career remained mired in a morass of lawsuits, domestic-assault incidents, poverty, and alcoholism, never to recover.
Wonder would have been well acquainted with Ballard. A subtle nod to her premature passing would be in line with his mission to write about all aspects of life — even death. So soon they are forgotten. I wanted to show my appreciation. It became part of the joke of our lives. By the fall of , Wonder was ready.
He had completed a double LP and bonus EP bursting at the seams with musical innovation. Songs in the Key of Life was a groundbreaking blend of funk, soul, pop and jazz, seasoned with cutting-edge technology. Amazingly, this bumper crop of forward-looking musical brilliance had its grand debut in the pastoral paradise of Long View Farm in rural North Brookfield, Massachusetts.
But that was just the final step in a long journey. Soon they were airborne in a chartered DC-9, well stocked with champagne and appetizers. Once the plane touched down at a small airport in Worcester, Massachusetts, the journalists were loaded onto a fleet of school buses for a short ride to the listening party.
Long View Farm was a acre equestrian ground that had recently been renovated to include a world-class studio used by the Rolling Stones, Cat Stevens, Aerosmith and the J. Geils Band, among many others. Guests were treated to hearty meals of roast beef, pie and more champagne while waiting for Wonder to make his entrance. It became the third album in history to debut at Number One, remaining there for 14 weeks. It also earned him four Grammys, which he accepted via satellite while he was visiting Nigeria to explore his musical heritage.
To be a father and then letting go and letting God give me the energy and strength I needed. Sign up for our newsletter.