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Songs in the Key of Life

From Academic Kids

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Songs in the Key of Life is a landmark album by Stevie Wonder, released on September 28, 1976 (see 1976 in music). A highly ambitious and experimental double LP, Songs in the Key of Life became one of the best-selling albums of his career.

Songs in the Key of Life won a Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal and Album of the Year. The album also topped Billboard's Pop Albums and Black Albums charts. It was voted as the best album of the year in The Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics poll.

In 1998 Q magazine readers voted Songs in the Key of Life the 88th greatest album of all time; in 2003 the TV network VH1 placed it at number 7; in 2005 voters in Channel 4's poll placed it 74th.

Contents

Track listing

Disc One

  1. "Love's in Need of Love Today" (Wonder) - 7:05
  2. "Have a Talk With God" (Hardaway/Wonder) - 2:42
  3. "Village Ghetto Land" (Byrd/Wonder) - 3:25
  4. "Contusion" (Wonder) - 6:23
  5. "Sir Duke" (Wonder) - 3:45
  6. "I Wish" (Wonder) - 3:54
  7. "Knocks Me off My Feet" (Wonder) - 4:12
  8. "Pastime Paradise" (Wonder) - 3:36
  9. "Summer Soft" (Wonder) - 3:27
  10. "Ordinary Pain" (Wonder) - 4:14
  11. "Saturn" * (Sembello/Wonder) - 4:53
  12. "Ebony Eyes" * (Wonder) - 4:08

Disc Two

  1. "Isn't She Lovely" (Wonder) - 6:34
  2. "Joy Inside My Tears" (Wonder) - 6:29
  3. "Black Man" (Byrd/Wonder) - 8:29
  4. "Ngiculela-Es Una Historia-I Am Singing" (Wonder) - 3:48
  5. "If It's Magic" (Wonder) - 3:12
  6. "As" (Wonder) - 7:08
  7. "Another Star" (Wonder) - 8:28
  8. "All Day Sucker" * (Wonder) - 5:05
  9. "Easy Goin' Evening (My Mama's Call)" * (Wonder) - 3:56

*bonus tracks from the 7" EP included with a special edition version of the LP; these tracks are also on most CD versions of the album.

Personnel

  • Greg Brown - Drums
  • Deniece Williams - Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)
  • Minnie Riperton - Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)
  • Dorothy Ashby - Harp
  • George Benson - Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar, Vocals
  • Ronnie Foster - Organ
  • Herbie Hancock - Keyboards, Handclapping
  • Bobbi Humphrey - Flute
  • Gary Byrd - Vocals
  • Michael Wycoff - Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)
  • Larry Scott - Sound Effects
  • Michael Sembello - Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar
  • Carol Cole - Percussion
  • Bobbye Hall - Percussion
  • Tony Warren - Illustrations
  • Sneaky Pete Kleinow - Pedal Steel
  • Jay Boy Adams - Vocals
  • Nathan Alford, Jr. - Percussion
  • Henry America - Vocals
  • Linda America - Vocals
  • Baradras - Vocals
  • Brenda Barnett - Vocals
  • Andrew Berliner - Mastering
  • Khalif Bobatoon - Vocals
  • Starshemah Bobatoon - Vocals
  • Sudana Bobatoon - Vocals
  • George Bohannon - Trombone
  • Charles Brewer - Percussion, Programming, Vocals (bckgr)
  • Shirley Brewer - Percussion, Vocals, Vocals (bckgr), Speech/Speaker/Speaking Part
  • Ben Bridges - Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar, Guitar (Rhythm), Sitar
  • Berry Briges - Vocals
  • Cecilia Brown - Vocals
  • Eddie "Bongo" Brown - Percussion
  • Jean Brown - Vocals
  • Rodney Brown - Vocals
  • Colleen Carleton - Percussion, Vocals (bckgr)
  • Addie Cox - Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)
  • Agnideva Dasa - Vocals
  • Duryodhana Guru Dasa - Vocals
  • Jayasacinandana Dasa - Vocals
  • Jitamrtyi Dasa - Vocals
  • Vedavyasa Dasa - Vocals
  • Cinmayi Dasi - Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)
  • Yogamaya Dasi - Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)
  • Carolyn Dennis - Vocals (bckgr)
  • Bhakta Eddie - Vocals
  • Doe Rani Edwards - Vocals
  • Jacqueline F. English - Vocals
  • Ethel Enoex - Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)
  • Al Jocko Fann - Vocals
  • Barbara Fann - Vocals
  • Melani Fann - Vocals
  • Shelley Fann - Vocals
  • Tracy Fann - Vocals
  • Howard Buzzy Feiten - Guitar
  • Glen Ferris - Trombone
  • John Fischbach - Percussion, Programming, Vocals (bckgr), 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, Vocals (bckgr)
  • John Harris - Sound Effects
  • Jeania Harris - Vocals
  • John Harris - Programming
  • Troy Harris - Vocals
  • Nelson Hayes - Percussion, Sound Effects, Vocals (bckgr)
  • Terry Hendricks - Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)
  • Bruce Hensal - Assistant Engineer
  • David Henson - Vocals, Handclapping
  • Jim Horn - Saxophone
  • Don Hunter - Programming, Sound Effects
  • Adrian Janes - Vocals
  • Josie James - Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)
  • Calvin Johnson - Vocals
  • Carol Johnson - Vocals
  • Patricia Johnson - Vocals
  • Madelaine Jones - Vocals
  • Bhakta Kevin - Vocals
  • Phillip Kimble - Vocals
  • James Lambert - Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)
  • Larry Latimer - Percussion, Vocals
  • Lynda Laurence - Vocals
  • Linda Lawrence - Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)
  • Trevor Lawrence - Saxophone, Sax (Tenor)
  • Irma Leslie - Vocals
  • Kim Lewis - Vocals
  • Howie Lindeman - Assistant Engineer
  • Carl Lockhart - Vocals
  • Gail Lockhart - Vocals
  • Steve Madaio - Trumpet
  • Raymond Maldonado - Percussion, Trumpet
  • Carolyn Massenburg - Vocals
  • Amale Mathews - Percussion, Vocals (bckgr)
  • Artice May - Vocals
  • Charity McCrary - Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)
  • Linda McCrary-Campbell - Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)
  • Linda McCrary - Vocals
  • Lonnie Morgan - Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)
  • Kim Nixon - Vocals
  • Lisa Nixon - Vocals
  • Larri Nuckens - Vocals
  • Gary Olazabal - Engineer
  • Edna Orso - Percussion, Vocals (bckgr)
  • Dean Parks - Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar
  • Gwen Perry - Vocals
  • Greg Phillinganes - Keyboards
  • Raymond Lee Pounds - Drums
  • Hank Redd - Saxophone, Sax (Alto), Sax (Tenor)
  • Gregory Rudd - Vocals
  • Rukmini - Vocals
  • Yolanda Simmons - Vocals, Handclapping
  • Keith Slaughter - Vocals
  • Rosona Starks - Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)
  • Dennis Swindell - Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)
  • Sundray Tucker - Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)
  • Josette Valentino - Percussion, Vocals (bckgr), Handclapping
  • Gary Veney - Vocals
  • W.G. "Snuffy" Walden - Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar
  • Sheryl Walker - Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)
  • Marietta Waters - Percussion, Vocals (bckgr)
  • Nathan Lamar Watts - Bass, Percussion, Vocals
  • Mary Lee Whitney - Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)
  • Stevie Wonder - Harmonica, Arranger, Keyboards, Programming, Vocals, Producer
  • Syreeta Wright - Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)
  • Rick Smith - Assistant Engineer
  • Ray Pound - Drums
  • Michael Gray - Vocals
  • Chris Morris - Assistant Engineer
  • Jeff Sanders - Mastering
  • Susaye Greene - Vocals
  • Nathan Watts - Bass, Vocals (bckgr), Handclapping
  • William Moore - Vocals
  • Greg Brown - Drums
  • Rick Smith - Assistant Engineer
  • Fountain Jones - Programming

Cover Versions

  • "Love's In Need of Love Today" - Later recorded by Dave Hollister in 2002.
  • "Contusion" - Later chopped up and melded with other jazz samples for the Venetian Snares song "Banana Seat Girl" (2002).
  • "I Wish" - Later recorded, with different lyrics, by Will Smith as the theme song for the film Wild Wild West.
  • "Isn't She Lovely" - a UK Top Ten hit for David Parton in 1977.
  • "Pastime Paradise" - Later recorded, with different lyrics, as "Gangsta's Paradise" by Coolio in 1995, parodied by "Weird Al" Yankovic as "Amish Paradise" in 1996. Sampled again as the basis of "Curtain Falls" by the boy-band Blue on 2004.
  • "Knocks Me Off My Feet" - Later recorded by Luther Vandross in 1996 and then by Donnell Jones in 2003.
  • "As" - Later recorded by Michael Bolton in 2001, also a successful duet between George Michael and Mary J. Blige in 1998.
  • "Another Star" - Later recorded by Caron Wheeler of Soul II Soul in 2002.

Charting singles

  • 1976: Another Star (Club Play Singles) - No. 2
  • 1977: Sir Duke Adult (Contemporary) - No. 3
  • 1977: Another Star (Pop Singles) - No. 32
  • 1977: I Wish (Pop Singles) - No. 1
  • 1977: Sir Duke (Pop Singles) - No. 1
  • 1977: Another Star (Black Singles) - No. 18
  • 1977: As (Black Singles) - No. 36
  • 1977: I Wish (Black Singles) - No. 1
  • 1977: Sir Duke (Black Singles) - No. 1
  • 1978: As (Pop Singles) - No. 36
  • 1978: Knocks Me Off My Feet (Pop Singles) - No. 11
  • 1978: Knocks Me Off My Feet (Black Singles) - No. 4
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