HOME
The Info List - Songs In The Key Of Life


--- Advertisement ---



Songs in the Key of Life
Songs in the Key of Life
is the eighteenth album by American recording artist Stevie Wonder, released on September 28, 1976, by Motown Records, through its division Tamla Records. It was the culmination of his "classic period" albums.[2] The album was recorded primarily at Crystal Sound studio in Hollywood, with some sessions recorded at the Record Plant in Hollywood, the Record Plant in Sausalito, and The Hit Factory in New York City. Final mixing was performed at Crystal Sound.[3] An ambitious double LP with a four-song bonus EP,[4] Songs in the Key of Life became the best-selling and most critically acclaimed album of Wonder's career. In 2003, it was ranked number 57 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. In 2005, it was inducted into the National Recording Registry
National Recording Registry
by the Library of Congress, which deemed it "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

Contents

1 Background 2 Recording 3 Critical reception 4 Legacy and influence 5 Commercial performance 6 Track listing 7 A Something's Extra EP 8 Personnel 9 Singles 10 Charts

10.1 Weekly charts 10.2 Year-end charts

11 Certifications 12 See also 13 Notes 14 References 15 External links

Background[edit] By 1976, Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
had become one of the most popular figures in R&B and pop music, not only in the U.S., but worldwide. Within a short space of time, the albums Talking Book, Innervisions
Innervisions
and Fulfillingness' First Finale
Fulfillingness' First Finale
were all back-to-back top five successes, with the latter two winning Grammy Award for Album
Album
of the Year, in 1974 and 1975, respectively. By the end of 1975, Wonder became serious about quitting the music industry and emigrating to Ghana
Ghana
to work with handicapped children. He had expressed his anger with the way that the U.S. government
U.S. government
was running the country.[5][6] A farewell concert was being considered as the best way to bring down the curtain on his career. Wonder changed his decision, when he signed a new contract with Motown on August 5, 1975, thinking he was better off making the most of his career. At the time, rivals such as Arista and Epic were also interested in him. The contract was laid out as a seven-year, seven LP, $37 million deal and gave him full artistic control, making this the largest deal made with a recording star up to that point.[5] Almost at the beginning Wonder took a year off from the music market, with a project for a double album to be released in 1976.[7] There was huge anticipation for the new album which was initially scheduled for release around October 1975. It was delayed on short notice when Wonder felt that further remixing was essential. According to Wonder, the marketing campaign at Motown decided to take advantage of the delay by producing "We're almost finished" T-shirts.[8] Work on the new album continued into early 1976. A name was finally chosen for the album: Songs in the Key of Life. The title would represent the formula of a complex "key of life" and the proposals for indefinite success.[9] The album was released on September 28, 1976, after a two-year wait as a double LP album with a four-track seven-inch EP titled A Something's Extra ("Saturn", "Ebony Eyes", "All Day Sucker" and "Easy Goin' Evening (My Mama's Call)") and a 24-page lyric and credit booklet.[8][10] Recording[edit]

Wonder used an Electro-Voice
Electro-Voice
RE20 microphone (pictured) to record his voice for upbeat songs such as "I Wish". A variety of microphones were used for other songs.[3]

The working title was Let's See Life the Way It Is.[11] Wonder recorded the great majority of the album at Crystal Sounds in Hollywood, with Gary Olazabal as engineer, and studio owner John Fischbach as engineer.[3] Some material was recorded at the Record Plant in Hollywood and the Record Plant in Sausalito. During a period when Crystal Sounds had a prior obligation to record another artist, Wonder and Fischbach traveled to the Hit Factory in New York City
New York City
to work for about six weeks but only used one basic track.[3][12] As a perfectionist, Wonder spent long hours in the studio for almost every track he recorded. He was "not eating or sleeping, while everyone around him struggled to keep up."[7] According to Wonder, "If my flow is goin', I keep on until I peak." A total of 130 people worked on the album, but Wonder's preeminence during the album was evident. Among the people present during the sessions, there were legendary figures of R&B, soul and jazz music – Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock
played Fender Rhodes
Fender Rhodes
on "As", George Benson
George Benson
played electric guitar on "Another Star", and Minnie Riperton
Minnie Riperton
and Deniece Williams added backing vocals on "Ordinary Pain". Mike Sembello was a prominent personality throughout the album, playing guitar on several tracks and also co-writing "Saturn" with Wonder. Some of the most socially conscious songs of the album were actually written by Wonder with other people – these included "Village Ghetto Land" and "Black Man" (co-written with Gary Byrd) and "Have a Talk
Talk
with God" (co-written by Calvin Hardaway). Nathan Watts, Wonder's newest bass player at the time, originally recorded a bass track for "Isn't She Lovely" that Wonder replaced with his own keyboard bass for the final version. The same guide-track method was employed for "Knocks Me Off My Feet". Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings

Review scores

Source Rating

AllMusic [13]

Christgau's Record Guide A[14]

Encyclopedia of Popular Music [15]

The Great Rock Discography 8/10[15]

MusicHound 5/5[15]

Pitchfork Media 10/10[16]

Rolling Stone [17]

The Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Album
Album
Guide [18]

Sputnikmusic 4.5/5[19]

At the time of release, reporters and music critics, and everyone who had worked on the album, traveled to Long View Farm, a recording studio in Massachusetts
Massachusetts
for a press preview of the album. Everybody received autographed copies of the album and Wonder gave interviews. Critical reception was positive. The album was viewed as a guided tour through a wide range of musical styles and the life and feelings of the artist. It included recollections of childhood, of first love and lost love. It contained songs about faith and love among all peoples and songs about social justice for the poor and downtrodden.[20] On February 19, 1977, Wonder was nominated for seven Grammy Awards, including Album
Album
of the Year, an award that he had already won twice, in 1974 and 1975, for Innervisions
Innervisions
and Fulfillingness’ First Finale.[10] Since 1973, Stevie’s presence at the Grammy ceremonies had been consistent – he attended most of the ceremonies and also used to perform on stage. But in 1976, he did not attend as he was not nominated for any awards (as he had not released any new material during the past year). Paul Simon, who received the Grammy for Album of the Year in that occasion (for Still Crazy After All These Years) jokingly thanked Stevie “for not releasing an album” that year. A year after, Wonder was nominated for Songs in the Key of Life
Songs in the Key of Life
in that same category, and was widely favored by many critics to take the award. The other nominees were Breezin’ by George Benson, Chicago X by Chicago, Silk Degrees
Silk Degrees
by Boz Scaggs, and the other favorite, Peter Frampton’s Frampton Comes Alive!, which was also a huge critical and commercial success. Wonder was again absent from the ceremony, as he had developed an interest in visiting Africa. In February he traveled to Nigeria
Nigeria
for two weeks, primarily to explore his musical heritage, as he put it. A satellite hook-up was arranged so that Stevie could be awarded his Grammys from across the sea. Bette Midler
Bette Midler
announced the results during the ceremony, and the audience was only able to see Wonder at a phone smiling and giving thanks.[21] The video signal was poor and the audio inaudible. Andy Williams
Andy Williams
went on to make a public blunder when he asked the blind-since-birth Wonder, “Stevie, can you see us?”[20] In all, Wonder won four out of seven nominations at the Grammys: Album
Album
of the Year, Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and Producer of the Year. Legacy and influence[edit] Over time, the album became a standard, and it is considered Wonder's signature album. "Of all the albums," he told Q magazine (April 1995 issue), " Songs in the Key of Life
Songs in the Key of Life
I'm most happy about. Just the time, being alive then. To be a father and then… letting go and letting God give me the energy and strength I needed." Songs in the Key of Life is often cited as one of the greatest albums in popular music history.[22] It was voted as the best album of the year in The Village Voice's annual Pazz & Jop critics poll; in 2001 the TV network
TV network
VH1 named it the seventh greatest album of all time; in 2003, the album was ranked number 57 on Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Many musicians have also remarked on the quality of the album and its influence on their own work. For example, Elton John
Elton John
said, in his notes for Wonder on the 2003 Rolling Stone's list of "The Immortals – The Greatest Artists of All Time" (in which Wonder was ranked number 15): "Let me put it this way: wherever I go in the world, I always take a copy of Songs in the Key of Life. For me, it's the best album ever made, and I'm always left in awe after I listen to it."[23] In an interview with Ebony magazine, Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson
called Songs in the Key of Life his favorite Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
album. George Michael
George Michael
cited the album as his favorite of all time[24] and with Mary J. Blige covered "As" for a 1999 hit single. Michael performed "Love's in Need of Love Today" on his Faith tour in 1988, and released it as a B-side to "Father Figure". He also performed "Village Ghetto Land" at the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute in 1988. He later covered "Pastime Paradise" and "Knocks Me Off My Feet" in his 1991 Cover to Cover tour. R&B singers in particular have praised the album – Prince called it the best album ever recorded, Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey
generally names the album as one of her favorites, and Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston
also remarked on the influence of Songs in the Key of Life
Songs in the Key of Life
on her singing. (During the photoshoot for her Whitney: The Greatest Hits, as seen on its respective home video, the album was played throughout the photo sessions, at Houston’s request.) The album's importance has even been recognized by heavy metal musicians, with singer Phil Anselmo describing a live performance of Songs in the Key of Life
Songs in the Key of Life
as "a living, breathing miracle".[25] The album’s tracks have provided numerous samples for rap and hip-hop artists; for example, "Pastime Paradise", which itself drew on the first eight notes and four chords of J.S. Bach's Prelude No. 2 in C minor (BWV 847),[citation needed] was reworked by Coolio
Coolio
as "Gangsta's Paradise". In 1995, smooth jazz artist Najee
Najee
recorded a cover album titled Najee
Najee
Plays Songs from the Key of Life, which is based entirely on Wonder's album. In 1999, Will Smith
Will Smith
used "I Wish" as the base for his US number-one single "Wild Wild West". The song repeated the main melody of "I Wish" as a riff and some lyrics re-formed. In April 2008, the album was voted the "Top Album
Album
of All Time" by the Yahoo!
Yahoo!
Music Playlist Blog, using a formula that combined four parameters – " Album
Album
Staying Power Value + Sales Value + Critical Rating Value + Grammy Award Value".[26] In December 2013, Wonder did a live concert performance of the entire Songs in the Key of Life
Songs in the Key of Life
album at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles. The event was his 18th annual House Full of Toys Benefit Concert, and featured some of the original singers and musicians from the 1976 double-album as well as several from the contemporary scene.[27] In November 2014, Wonder began performing the entire album in a series of concert dates in the U.S. and Canada. The start of the tour coincided with the 38th anniversary of the release of Songs in the Key of Life.[28][29] Commercial performance[edit] Highly anticipated, the album surpassed all commercial expectations. It debuted at number 1 on the Billboard Pop Albums Chart on October 8, 1976, becoming only the third album in history to achieve that feat and the first by an American artist (after British singer/composer Elton John's albums Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy
Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy
and Rock of the Westies, both in 1975). In Canada, the album achieved the same feat, entering at number one on the RPM national albums chart on October 16.[30] Songs in the Key of Life
Songs in the Key of Life
spent thirteen consecutive weeks at number one in the U.S., and 11 during 1976. It was the album with the most weeks at number one during the year. In those eleven weeks, Songs in the Key of Life
Songs in the Key of Life
managed to block four other albums from reaching the top – in order, Boz Scaggs’s Silk Degrees, Earth, Wind & Fire's Spirit, Led Zeppelin's soundtrack for The Song Remains the Same and Rod Stewart's A Night on the Town.[31] On January 15, 1977, the album finally dropped to number two behind Eagles' Hotel California and the following week it fell to number four. On January 29 it returned to the top for a fourteenth and final week. The album then began its final fall. It spent a total of 35 weeks inside the top ten and 80 weeks on the Billboard albums chart. Songs in the Key of Life
Songs in the Key of Life
also saw longevity at number one on the Billboard R&B/Black Albums chart, spending 20 non-consecutive weeks there. In all, Songs in the Key of Life
Songs in the Key of Life
became the second best-selling album of 1977 in the U.S., only behind Fleetwood Mac's blockbuster Rumours, and was certified as a diamond album by the RIAA, for sales of 10 million units in the U.S. alone (each individual record or disc included with an album counts towards RIAA certifications).[32] It was the highest selling R&B/Soul album on the Billboard Year-End chart that same year.[33] Songs in the Key of Life
Songs in the Key of Life
was also the most successful Wonder project in terms of singles. The lead-off, the upbeat "I Wish" was released in November 1976, over a month after the album was released. On January 15, 1977, it reached number one on the Billboard R&B chart, where it spent five weeks at the top. Seven days after, it also reached the summit of the Billboard Hot 100, although it spent only one week at number one. The track became an international top 10 single, and also reached number five in the UK. "I Wish" became one of Wonder's standards and remained one of his most sampled songs. The follow-up, the jazzy "Sir Duke", surpassed the commercial success of "I Wish". It was released in March 1977 and also reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100
Billboard Hot 100
(spending three weeks at the top starting on May 21) and the R&B chart (for one week, starting on May 28). It also reached number two in the UK, where it was kept off the top spot by the song "Free" by Deniece Williams, who had provided backing vocals on the album. As sales for the album began to decline during the second half of 1977, the two other singles from Songs in the Key of Life
Songs in the Key of Life
failed to achieve the commercial success of "I Wish" and "Sir Duke". "Another Star" was released in August and reached only number 32 on the Hot 100 (number 18 on the R&B chart, and number 29 in the UK) and "As" came out two months later, peaking at number 36 on both the Pop and R&B charts. Though not released as a single, "Isn't She Lovely" received wide airplay and became one of Wonder's most popular songs. It was soon released by David Parton as a single in 1977 and became a top 10 hit in the UK. Track listing[edit]

Original vinyl release

Side one

"Love's in Need of Love Today" (Stevie Wonder) – 7:06

Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
– lead and background vocals, Clavinet, Fender Rhodes, synthesizer Yamaha GX-1, drums, bass synth Eddie "Bongo" Brown – percussion

"Have a Talk
Talk
with God" (Calvin Hardaway, Wonder) – 2:42

Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
- lead and background vocals, drums, percussions, harmonica, Keyboards, bass synth

"Village Ghetto Land" (Gary Byrd, Wonder) – 3:25

Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
- lead vocals, synthesizer Yamaha GX-1

"Contusion" (Wonder) – 3:46

Mike Sembello – lead guitar Nathan Watts
Nathan Watts
– bass guitar Ben Bridges – rhythm guitar Raymond Pounds – drums Greg Phillinganes
Greg Phillinganes
– keyboards Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
– all other instruments Michael Gray, Josie James, Shirley Brewer, Artece May – vocals

"Sir Duke" (Wonder) – 3:52

Mike Sembello – lead guitar Ben Bridges – rhythm guitar Nathan Watts
Nathan Watts
– bass guitar Raymond Pounds – drums Hank Redd – alto saxophone Trevor Lawrence – tenor saxophone Raymond Maldonado – trumpet Steve Madaio – trumpet Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
– lead vocals, Fender Rhodes, percussions

Side two

"I Wish" (Wonder) – 4:12

Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
– lead vocals, Fender Rhodes, ARP 2600
ARP 2600
synthesizer, vocoder, drums Nathan Watts
Nathan Watts
– bass guitar Hank Redd – alto saxophone Trevor Lawrence – tenor saxophone Raymond Maldonado – trumpet Steve Madaio – trumpet Renee Hardaway - vocals ("you nasty boy!")

"Knocks Me Off My Feet" (Wonder) – 3:36

Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
– lead and background vocals, acoustic piano, Fender Rhodes, drums, synth bass

"Pastime Paradise" (Wonder) – 3:27

Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
– lead and background vocals, synthesizer GX-1, percussions Raymond Maldonado, Bobbye Hall
Bobbye Hall
– percussions Hare Krishna, West Angeles Church Choir – background vocals

"Summer Soft" (Wonder) – 4:14

Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
– lead vocals, piano, drums, bass synthesizer Ben Bridges – acoustic guitar Ronnie Foster – organ Larry "Nastyee" Latimer – percussion

"Ordinary Pain" (Wonder) – 6:16

Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
– lead vocals, Fender Rhodes, Keyboards, drums, bass synthesizer Mike Sembello – lead electric guitar Hank Redd – alto saxophone Minnie Riperton, Mary Lee Whitney, Deniece Williams, Syreeta Wright – background vocals Shirley Brewer – reply Linda Lawrence, Terri Hendricks, Sundray Tucker, Charity McCrary, Madelaine Jones – reply's background vocals

Side three

"Isn't She Lovely" (Wonder) – 6:34

Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
– lead vocals, Fender Rhodes, RMI Electra Piano, percussions, harmonica, drums, bass synthesizer Greg Phillinganes
Greg Phillinganes
– keyboards

"Joy Inside My Tears" (Wonder) – 6:30

Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
– lead vocals, background vocals, piano, drums, bass synthesizer Greg Phillinganes
Greg Phillinganes
– keyboard Susaye Green – background vocals

"Black Man" (Byrd/Wonder) – 8:27

Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
– lead vocals, Fender Rhodes, synthesizers, drums, percussions, talk box, bass synthesizer Hank Redd – alto saxophone, tenor saxophone Steve Madaio – trumpet George Bohanon – trombone Glen Ferris – trombone

Side four

"Ngiculela – Es Una Historia – I Am Singing" (Wonder) – 3:48

Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
– vocals, Koto synthesizer, drums, bass synthesizer Charles Brewer, Shirley Brewer, Renee Hardaway, Nelson Hayes, Marietta Waters, Nathan Watts, John Fischbach, Amale Mathews, Josette Valentino – background percussions Zulu translation by Thoko Mdalose Hall, Spanish translation by Raymond Maldonado

"If It's Magic" (Wonder) – 3:12

Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
– lead vocals, harmonica Dorothy Ashby
Dorothy Ashby
– harp

"As" (Wonder) – 7:08

Nathan Watts
Nathan Watts
– bass, handclaps Dean Parks – guitar Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock
– Fender Rhodes, handclaps Greg Brown – drums Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
– lead and background vocal, Fender Rhodes Mary Lee Whitney – background vocals Dave Hanson, Yolanda Simon, Josette Valentino – handclaps

"Another Star" (Wonder) – 8:28

Bobbi Humphrey – flute George Benson
George Benson
– guitar and background vocals Hank Redd – alto saxophone Raymond Maldonado – trumpet Trevor Lawrence – tenor saxophone Steve Madaio – trumpet Nathan Alford, Jr. – percussion Carmello Hungria Garcia – timbales Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
– lead vocal and background vocals, piano, drums Nathan Watts
Nathan Watts
– bass Josie James – background vocals

A Something's Extra EP[edit] The A Something's Extra 7" 33 RPM
33 RPM
EP (Tamla T 340EP) was included with the special-edition version of the original LP. Surprisingly, the EP (at least as released in the U.S.) uses the larger spindle hole typical of 45 RPM records. These tracks are also on most CD versions of the album, as well as the Blu-ray Audio,[34] either split between both discs or appended to the end of the second disc.

Side one

"Saturn" (Michael Sembello, Wonder) – 4:54

Mike Sembello – lead guitar Ben Bridges – rhythm guitar Gregory Phillinganes – keyboard Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
– all other instruments

"Ebony Eyes" (Wonder) – 4:11

Nathan Watts
Nathan Watts
– bass Jim Horn – saxophone Peter "Sneaky Pete" Kleinow – steel guitar Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
– lead vocals, tack piano, talkbox, drums

Side two

"All Day Sucker" (Wonder) – 5:06

Ben Bridges – rhythm guitar Mike Sembello – rhythm guitar W. G. "Snuffy" Walden – lead guitar Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
– lead vocals, background vocals, bass synthesizer, Clavinet, drums Carolyn Denis – background vocals

"Easy Goin' Evening (My Mama's Call)" (Wonder) – 3:55

Nathan Watts
Nathan Watts
– bass Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
– Fender Rhodes, harmonica, drums

CD release

No. Title Writer(s) Length

1. "Love's in Need of Love Today" Wonder 7:06

2. "Have a Talk
Talk
with God" Wonder, Hardaway 2:42

3. "Village Ghetto Land" Wonder, Byrd 3:25

4. "Contusion" Wonder 3:46

5. "Sir Duke" Wonder 3:54

6. "I Wish" Wonder 4:12

7. "Knocks Me Off My Feet" Wonder 3:36

8. "Pastime Paradise" Wonder 3:28

9. "Summer Soft" Wonder 4:14

10. "Ordinary Pain" Wonder 6:23

11. "Isn't She Lovely" Wonder 6:34

12. "Joy Inside My Tears" Wonder 6:30

13. "Black Man" Wonder, Byrd 8:30

14. "Ngiculela – Es Una Historia – I Am Singing" Wonder 3:49

15. "If It's Magic" Wonder 3:12

16. "As" Wonder 7:08

17. "Another Star" Wonder 8:28

A Something's Extra

No. Title Writer(s) Length

18. "Saturn" Wonder, Sembello 4:54

19. "Ebony Eyes" Wonder 4:09

20. "All Day Sucker" Wonder 5:06

21. "Easy Goin' Evening (My Mama's Call)" Wonder 3:57

Total length: 1:44:54

Personnel[edit]

Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
– harmonica, arranger, keyboards, programming, vocals, drums Michael Sembello – guitar Sneaky Pete Kleinow
Sneaky Pete Kleinow
– pedal steel George Benson
George Benson
– guitar, vocals Ronnie Foster – organ Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock
– keyboards, handclapping Dean Parks – guitar Greg Phillinganes
Greg Phillinganes
– keyboards W. G. "Snuffy" Walden – guitar Nathan Watts
Nathan Watts
– bass guitar, vocals, handclapping Greg Brown – drums Raymond Lee Pounds – drums Hank Redd – alto and tenor saxophone George Bohannon – trombone Ben Bridges – guitar, sitar Dorothy Ashby
Dorothy Ashby
– harp Bobbi Humphrey – flute Howard "Buzzy" Feiten – guitar Steve Madaio – trumpet Trevor Lawrence – tenor saxophone Glen Ferris – trombone Jim Horn – saxophone Deniece Williams – vocals Minnie Riperton
Minnie Riperton
– vocals Gary Byrd – vocals Michael Wycoff – vocals Larry Scott – sound effects Carol Cole – percussion Bobbye Hall
Bobbye Hall
– percussion Jay Boy Adams – vocals Nathan Alford, Jr. – percussion Henry America – vocals Linda America – vocals Baradras – vocals Brenda Barnett – vocals Khalif Bobatoon – vocals Starshemah Bobatoon – vocals Sudana Bobatoon – vocals Charles Brewer – percussion, programming, vocals Shirley Brewer – percussion, vocals, speaking part Berry Briges – vocals Cecilia Brown – vocals Eddie "Bongo" Brown – percussion Jean Brown – vocals Rodney Brown – vocals Colleen Carleton – percussion, vocals Addie Cox – vocals Agnideva Dasa – vocals Duryodhana Guru Dasa – vocals Jayasacinandana Dasa – vocals Jitamrtyi Dasa – vocals Vedavyasa Dasa – vocals Cinmayi Dasi – vocals Yogamaya Dasi – vocals Carolyn Dennis – vocals Bhakta Eddie – vocals Doe Rani Edwards – vocals Jacqueline F. English – vocals Ethel Enoex – vocals Al Jocko Fann – vocals Barbara Fann – vocals Melani Fann – vocals Shelley Fann – vocals Tracy Fann – vocals John Fischbach – percussion, programming, vocals, engineer

Susie Fuzzell – vocals Carmelo Garcia – percussion, timbales Anthony Givens – vocals Audrey Givens – vocals Derrick Givens – vocals Mildred Givens – vocals Michael Lee Gray – vocals Mimi Green – vocals Susaye Greene Brown – vocals Bhakta Gregory – vocals Renee Hardaway – percussion, vocals John Harris – sound effects Jeania Harris – vocals John Harris – programming Troy Harris – vocals Nelson Hayes – percussion, sound effects, vocals Terry Hendricks – vocals H. David Henson – assistant engineer Don Hunter – programming, sound effects Adrian Janes – vocals Josie James – vocals Calvin Johnson – vocals Carol Johnson – vocals Patricia Johnson – vocals Madelaine Jones – vocals Bhakta Kevin – vocals Phillip Kimble – vocals James Lambert – vocals Linda Lawrence – vocals Irma Leslie – vocals Kim Lewis – vocals Carl Lockhart – vocals Gail Lockhart – vocals Raymond Maldonado – percussion, trumpet Carolyn Massenburg – vocals Article May – vocals Charity McCrary – vocals Linda McCrary-Campbell – vocals Lonnie Morgan – vocals Kim Nixon – vocals Lisa Nixon – vocals Larri Nuckens – vocals Larry Latimer – percussion, vocals Amale Mathews – percussion, vocals Gary Olazabal – engineer, bass sound Edna Orso – percussion, vocals Marietta Waters – percussion, vocals Josette Valentino – percussion, vocals, handclapping Gwen Perry – vocals Gregory Rudd – vocals Rukmini – vocals Yolanda Simmons – vocals, handclapping Keith Slaughter – vocals Rosona Starks – vocals Dennis Swindell – vocals Sundray Tucker – vocals Gary Veney – vocals Sheryl Walker – vocals Mary Lee Whitney – vocals Syreeta Wright
Syreeta Wright
– vocals Michael Gray – vocals Susaye Greene – vocals William Moore – vocals Fountain Jones – programming Aisha Morris – crying on "Isn't She Lovely"

Singles[edit]

Year Single Chart Position

1976 "Another Star" Club Play Singles 2

1977 Pop Singles 32

Black Singles 18

Adult Contemporary 29

"I Wish" Pop Singles 1

Black Singles 1

Adult Contemporary 23

"Sir Duke" Pop Singles 1

Black Singles 1

Adult Contemporary 3

"Isn't She Lovely" Adult Contemporary 23

"As" Adult Contemporary 24

Black Singles 36

1978 Pop Singles 36

Charts[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1976/77) Position

Australian Kent Music Report[35] 6

Austrian Albums Chart[36] 15

Canadian RPM Albums Chart[37] 1

Dutch Albums Chart[38] 1

French SNEP Albums Chart[39] 1

Italian Albums Chart[40] 2

Japanese Oricon Albums Chart[41] 40

New Zealand Albums Chart[42] 5

Norwegian VG-lista Albums Chart[43] 6

Swedish Albums Chart[44] 9

UK Albums Chart[45] 2

U.S. Billboard 200[46] 1

West German Media Control Albums Chart[47] 23

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1976) Position

Australian Albums Chart[35] 49

Canadian Albums Chart[48] 3

Dutch Albums Chart[49] 14

French Albums Chart[50] 11

UK Albums Chart[51] 21

Chart (1977) Position

Australian Albums Chart[35] 39

Canadian Albums Chart[52] 5

Dutch Albums Chart[53] 7

Italian Albums Chart[40] 9

UK Albums Chart[51] 18

U.S. Billboard 200[54] 2

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales

Canada
Canada
(Music Canada)[55] 2× Platinum 200,000^

France (SNEP)[56] Gold 100,000*

United Kingdom (BPI)[57] Platinum 300,000^

United States (RIAA)[58] Diamond 5,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone ^shipments figures based on certification alone

See also[edit]

List of number-one albums of 1976 (U.S.) List of number-one albums of 1977 (U.S.) List of number-one R&B albums of 1976 (U.S.) List of number-one R&B albums of 1977 (U.S.)

Notes[edit]

^ Grimstad, Paul. "What is Avant-Pop?". Brooklyn Rail. Retrieved 1 October 2016.  ^ Some observers count six classic albums, some count five, and others count four. Bogdanov, Vladimir; Woodstra, Chris; Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (2001). All Music Guide: The Definitive Guide to Popular Music (4 ed.). Hal Leonard Corporation. pp. 447–448. ISBN 0-87930-627-0.  Cramer, Alfred William (2009). Musicians and Composers of the 20th Century. 5. Salem Press. p. 1645. ISBN 1-58765-517-9.  Brown, Jeremy K. (2010). Stevie Wonder: Musician. Black Americans of Achievement. Infobase Publishing. p. 57. ISBN 1-60413-685-5.  ^ a b c d Buskin, Richard (December 2007). "Classic Tracks: Stevie Wonder 'Pastime Paradise'". Sound on Sound.  ^ Lundy, Zeth. "Playing God: Songs in the Key of Life". Stylus Magazine, January 17, 2007. Retrieved August 1, 2009. ^ a b Lundy, Zeth, 33​1⁄3 Songs in the Key of Life, pp. 14/15. ^ Lundy, 33​1⁄3 Songs in the Key of Life, p. 119. ^ a b "Songs in the Key of Life". Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Magazine.  ^ a b Davis, Sharon Stevie Wonder: Rhythms of Wonder p. 112. ^ Lundy, 33​1⁄3 Songs in the Key of Life, pp. 8/9. ^ a b Lundy, 33​1⁄3 Songs in the Key of Life, p. 16. ^ Lundy, 33​1⁄3 Songs in the Key of Life, p. 8. ^ Kirby, Terry (February 7, 2005). "Manhattan's Hit Factory ends production after three decades of legendary music making". The Independent. Retrieved June 21, 2016.  ^ Bush, John. Review: Songs in the Key of Life. AllMusic. Retrieved 2009-08-01. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Stevie Wonder". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 0899190251. Retrieved September 26, 2015.  ^ a b c "Songs in the Key of Life". Acclaimed Music. Retrieved September 26, 2015.  ^ Review: "Songs in the Key of Life". Retrieved 2016-21-08. ^ Walters, Barry (June 2, 2005). Rolling Stone. New York. CS1 maint: Untitled periodical (link) ^ Considine, J. D. (2004). "Stevie Wonder". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Album
Album
Guide. Simon & Schuster. pp. 885–87. ISBN 0743201698. Retrieved September 25, 2015.  ^ Arp, Louis. Review: Songs in the Key of Life. Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 2009-08-01. ^ a b Steviewonder.org.uk ^ " Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
Wins Album
Album
Of The Year". The Grammys. Retrieved June 21, 2016.  ^ " Acclaimed Music – Songs in the Key of Life". Acclaimed Music. Retrieved November 11, 2007.  ^ "News". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 11, 2011.  ^ "BBC music reviews". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved November 11, 2011.  ^ Fred Pessaro (2016). Phil Anselmo
Phil Anselmo
on Superjoint, Trump and Making Things Right, CLRVYNT.com, accessed 21 December 2017 ^ "The Top 20 Albums of All Time (For Real)". music.yahoo.com. Archived from the original on October 21, 2013. Retrieved October 16, 2013.  ^ Mitchell, Gail (October 29, 2013). " Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
to Perform Entire 'Songs In The Key Of Life' at Holiday Benefit". Billboard.com.  ^ Grow, Kory (September 10, 2014). " Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
to Take 'Songs in the Key of Life' on the Road". Rolling Stone.  ^ Grow, Kory (January 15, 2015). " Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
Adds More 'Songs in the Key of Life' Tour Dates". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 10, 2015.  ^ Top Albums/CDs - RPM Volume 26, No. 3, October 16, 1976. Library and Archives Canada. ^ Freespace.virgin.net Archived 2009-04-17 at WebCite ^ "Welcome Back, Wonder". RIAA. Archived from the original on December 31, 2007. Retrieved November 11, 2007.  ^ "Internet Archive Wayback Machine". Web.archive.org. November 17, 2007. Archived from the original on November 17, 2007. Retrieved November 11, 2011.  ^ Sinclair, Paul. " Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
Songs In The Key Of Life blu-ray audio". Retrieved February 20, 2015.  ^ a b c Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book
Book
1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.  ^ "austriancharts.at Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
– Songs in the Key of Life" (ASP). Hung Medien (in German). Retrieved April 27, 2014.  ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 26, No. 20" (PHP). RPM. 1976-02-12. Retrieved April 29, 2014.  ^ "dutchcharts.nl Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
– Songs in the Key of Life" (ASP). Hung Medien. dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved April 27, 2014.  ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste" (in French). infodisc.fr. Archived from the original on May 7, 2013. Retrieved April 27, 2014.  ^ a b "Hit Parade Italia - Gli album più venduti del 1985" (in Italian). hitparadeitalia.it. Retrieved April 27, 2014.  ^ Oricon Album
Album
Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970-2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.  ^ "charts.org.nz Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
– Songs in the Key of Life" (ASP). Hung Medien. Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved April 27, 2014.  ^ "norwegiancharts.com Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
– Songs in the Key of Life" (ASP). Hung Medien. VG-lista. Retrieved April 27, 2014.  ^ "swedishcharts.com Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
– Songs in the Key of Life" (ASP) (in Swedish). Retrieved April 27, 2014.  ^ " Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
> Artists > Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved April 28, 2014.  ^ "Allmusic: Songs in the Key of Life : Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums". allmusic.com. Retrieved April 27, 2014.  ^ " Album
Album
Search: Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
– Songs in the Key of Life" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved April 27, 2014.  ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1976". RPM. Archived from the original on February 24, 2014. Retrieved April 29, 2014.  ^ "Dutch charts jaaroverzichten 1976". Dutchcharts.nl. Archived from the original on May 12, 2014. Retrieved April 29, 2014.  ^ "Les Albums (CD) de 1976 par InfoDisc" (in French). infodisc.fr. Archived from the original (PHP) on May 21, 2012. Retrieved April 23, 2014.  ^ a b "Complete UK Year-End Album
Album
Charts". February 2016. Archived from the original on January 11, 2012. Retrieved April 29, 2014.  ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1977". RPM. 1977-12-31. Archived from the original on April 5, 2014. Retrieved April 29, 2014.  ^ "Dutch charts jaaroverzichten 1977". Dutchcharts.nl. Archived from the original on May 12, 2014. Retrieved April 29, 2014.  ^ "Top Pop Albums of 1977". billboard.biz. February 2016. Archived from the original on January 15, 2013. Retrieved April 29, 2014.  ^ "Canadian album certifications – Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
– Songs in the Key of Life". Music Canada.  ^ "Les Albums Or". infodisc.fr (in French). SNEP. Archived from the original on April 29, 2014. Retrieved March 25, 2014.  ^ "British album certifications – Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
– Songs in the Key of Life". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Songs in the Key of Life in the search field and then press Enter. ^ "American album certifications – Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
– Songs in the Key of Life". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH

References[edit]

Davis, Sharon. Stevie Wonder: Rhythms of Wonder.  Lundy, Zeth (2007). Songs in the Key of Life. ISBN 9781441170125.  Nathan Brackett; Christian Hoard (2004). The New Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Album Guide (Completely revised and updated 4th ed.). Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.  Colin Larkin (2002). Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (4th ed.). Virgin Books. ISBN 1-85227-923-0. 

External links[edit]

Songs in the Key of Life
Songs in the Key of Life
at Discogs
Discogs
(list of releases) Jumping Jamboree at Time Album
Album
Review at BBC Music Reviews at SuperSeventies Accolades: Songs in the Keys of Life at Acclaimed Music Audio streams: WBEZ program 'Extensions' broadcast a 3 hour special commemorating the album's 30th anniversary

Preceded by Frampton Comes Alive!
Frampton Comes Alive!
by Peter Frampton Wings over America
Wings over America
by Wings Billboard 200
Billboard 200
number-one album October 16, 1976 – January 14, 1977 January 29 – February 4, 1977 Succeeded by Hotel California by Eagles Hotel California by Eagles

Preceded by Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975)
Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975)
by Eagles A Night on the Town by Rod Stewart Frampton Comes Alive!
Frampton Comes Alive!
by Peter Frampton Canadian RPM 100 number-one album October 16, 1976 – November 20, 1976 December 25, 1976 – January 15, 1977 February 12, 1977 Succeeded by Frampton Comes Alive!
Frampton Comes Alive!
by Peter Frampton Frampton Comes Alive!
Frampton Comes Alive!
by Peter Frampton Wings over America
Wings over America
by Wings

Preceded by Let's Stick Together
Let's Stick Together
by Bryan Ferry Dutch Mega Chart number-one album November 6, 1976 – November 13, 1976 Succeeded by Arrival by ABBA

v t e

Stevie Wonder

Studio albums

The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie Tribute to Uncle Ray With a Song in My Heart Stevie at the Beach Up-Tight Down to Earth I Was Made to Love Her Someday at Christmas Eivets Rednow For Once in My Life My Cherie Amour Signed, Sealed & Delivered Where I'm Coming From Music of My Mind Talking Book Innervisions Fulfillingness' First Finale Songs in the Key of Life Hotter than July In Square Circle Characters Conversation Peace A Time to Love

Live albums

Recorded Live: The 12 Year Old Genius Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
Live Live at the Talk
Talk
of the Town Natural Wonder

Soundtracks

Stevie Wonder's Journey Through "The Secret Life of Plants" The Woman in Red Jungle Fever

Compilations

Looking Back Stevie Wonder's Original Musiquarium I Song Review: A Greatest Hits Collection At the Close of a Century Ballad Collection The Definitive Collection 20th Century Masters The Complete Stevie Wonder

Top ten singles

" Fingertips
Fingertips
- Part 2" "Uptight (Everything's Alright)" "Blowin' in the Wind" "A Place in the Sun" "I Was Made to Love Her" "I'm Wondering" "Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Doo-Da-Day" "For Once in My Life" "My Cherie Amour" "Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday" "Never Had a Dream Come True" "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours" "Heaven Help Us All" "If You Really Love Me" "Superstition" "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" "Higher Ground" "Living for the City" "He's Misstra Know-It-All" "You Haven't Done Nothin'" "Boogie On Reggae Woman" "I Wish" "Sir Duke" "Send One Your Love" "Master Blaster (Jammin')" "I Ain't Gonna Stand for It" "Happy Birthday" "That Girl" "Do I Do" "Ebony and Ivory" "I Just Called to Say I Love You" "Love Light in Flight" "Part-Time Lover" "That's What Friends Are For" "Go Home"

Other singles

"Hey Harmonica
Harmonica
Man" "Hey Love" "I Don't Know Why" "Never Dreamed You'd Leave in Summer" "Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You)" "Don't You Worry 'bout a Thing" "As" "Another Star" "Lately" "Ribbon in the Sky" "Overjoyed" "Faith"

Other songs

"You and I (We Can Conquer the World)" "Golden Lady "All in Love Is Fair" "They Won't Go When I Go" "Knocks Me Off My Feet" "Pastime Paradise" "Isn't She Lovely" "Black Man"

Collaborations

"Ebony and Ivory" "We Are the World" "Just Good Friends" "California Roll"

Related articles

Discography Lula Mae Hardaway Syreeta Wright KJLH Wonderin' "Wonder-ful"

Book Category

v t e

Grammy Award for Album
Album
of the Year

1959–1979

The Music from Peter Gunn
The Music from Peter Gunn
Henry Mancini
Henry Mancini
(1959) Come Dance with Me! – Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
(1960) The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart
The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart
Bob Newhart
Bob Newhart
(1961) Judy at Carnegie Hall
Judy at Carnegie Hall
Judy Garland
Judy Garland
(1962) The First Family – Vaughn Meader
Vaughn Meader
(1963) The Barbra Streisand
Barbra Streisand
Album
Album
Barbra Streisand
Barbra Streisand
(1964) Getz/Gilberto
Getz/Gilberto
– Stan Getz, João Gilberto
João Gilberto
(1965) September of My Years Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
(1966) A Man and His Music Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
(1967) Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
The Beatles
The Beatles
(1968) By the Time I Get to Phoenix – Glen Campbell
Glen Campbell
(1969) Blood, Sweat & Tears – Blood, Sweat & Tears (1970) Bridge over Troubled Water
Bridge over Troubled Water
– Simon & Garfunkel (1971) Tapestry – Carole King
Carole King
(1972) The Concert for Bangladesh – Various (1973) Innervisions
Innervisions
Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
(1974) Fulfillingness' First Finale
Fulfillingness' First Finale
Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
(1975) Still Crazy After All These Years
Still Crazy After All These Years
Paul Simon
Paul Simon
(1976) Songs in the Key of Life
Songs in the Key of Life
Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
(1977) Rumours – Fleetwood Mac
Fleetwood Mac
(1978) Saturday Night Fever – Bee Gees/Various (1979)

1980–2000

52nd Street – Billy Joel
Billy Joel
(1980) Christopher Cross
Christopher Cross
Christopher Cross
Christopher Cross
(1981) Double Fantasy
Double Fantasy
John Lennon
John Lennon
and Yoko Ono
Yoko Ono
(1982) Toto IV
Toto IV
– Toto (1983) Thriller – Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson
(1984) Can't Slow Down – Lionel Richie
Lionel Richie
(1985) No Jacket Required
No Jacket Required
Phil Collins
Phil Collins
(1986) Graceland – Paul Simon
Paul Simon
(1987) The Joshua Tree
The Joshua Tree
– U2 (1988) Faith – George Michael
George Michael
(1989) Nick of Time – Bonnie Raitt
Bonnie Raitt
(1990) Back on the Block
Back on the Block
Quincy Jones
Quincy Jones
and various artists (1991) Unforgettable... with Love Natalie Cole
Natalie Cole
(1992) Unplugged – Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton
(1993) The Bodyguard – Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston
(1994) MTV Unplugged – Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett
(1995) Jagged Little Pill
Jagged Little Pill
Alanis Morissette
Alanis Morissette
(1996) Falling into You
Falling into You
Celine Dion
Celine Dion
(1997) Time Out of Mind – Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan
(1998) The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
Lauryn Hill
Lauryn Hill
(1999) Supernatural – Santana (2000)

2001–present

Two Against Nature
Two Against Nature
Steely Dan
Steely Dan
(2001) O Brother, Where Art Thou? Soundtrack (2002) Come Away with Me
Come Away with Me
Norah Jones
Norah Jones
(2003) Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
Outkast
Outkast
(2004) Genius Loves Company
Genius Loves Company
Ray Charles
Ray Charles
and various artists (2005) How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
– U2 (2006) Taking the Long Way
Taking the Long Way
Dixie Chicks
Dixie Chicks
(2007) River: The Joni Letters – Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock
(2008) Raising Sand
Raising Sand
Robert Plant
Robert Plant
& Alison Krauss
Alison Krauss
(2009) Fearless – Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift
(2010) The Suburbs
The Suburbs
Arcade Fire
Arcade Fire
(2011) 21 – Adele
Adele
(2012) Babel – Mumford & Sons (2013) Random Access Memories
Random Access Memories
Daft Punk
Daft Punk
(2014) Morning Phase
Morning Phase
Beck
Beck
(2015) 1989 – Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift
(2016) 25 – Adele
Adele
(2017) 24K Magic –

.