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Songs in the Key of Life




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Songs in the Key of Life
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 28, 1976 (1976-09-28)
Recorded1974–76
Genre
Length85:21
LabelTamla
ProducerStevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder chronology
'Fulfillingness' First Finale
(1974)
Songs in the Key of Life 'Looking Back – Anthology
(1977)
Singles from Songs in the Key of Life
  1. "I Wish"
    Released: December 1976
  2. "Sir Duke"
    Released: March 1977
  3. "Another Star"
    Released: August 1977
  4. "As"
    Released: October 1977

Songs in the Key of Life is the eighteenth studio album by American recording artist Stevie Wonder. It was released on September 28, 1976, by Tamla.

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic5/5 starsStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg[1]
Christgau's Record GuideA[2]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music5/5 starsStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg[3]
The Great Rock Discography8/10[3]
MusicHound5/5[3]
Rolling Stone5/5 starsStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg[4]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide5/5 starsStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg[5]
Sputnikmusic4.5/5[6]

Songs in the Key of Life received generally positive reviews from critics.

Track listing

Original vinyl release

Side one
  1. "Love's in Need of Love Today" (Stevie Wonder) – 7:06
  2. "Have a Talk with God" (Calvin Hardaway, Wonder) – 2:42
    • Stevie Wonder - all instruments synthesizer
  3. "Village Ghetto Land" (Gary Byrd, Wonder) – 3:25
  4. "Contusion" (Wonder) – 3:46
  5. "Sir Duke" (Wonder) – 3:52

Side two
  1. "I Wish" (Wonder) – 4:12
    • Stevie Wonder – vocals, Fender Rhodes, ARP 2600 synthesizer, vocoder, drums
    • Nathan Watts – bass
    • Hank Redd – alto saxophone
    • Trevor Laurence – tenor saxophone
    • Raymond Maldonado – trumpet
    • Steve Madaio – trumpet
    • Renee Hardaway - vocals ("you nasty boy!")
  2. "Knocks Me Off My Feet" (Wonder) – 3:36
    • Stevie Wonder – vocals, acoustic piano, Fender Rhodes, drums, synth bass
  3. "Pastime Paradise" (Wonder) – 3:27
  4. "Summer Soft" (Wonder) – 4:14
    • Ben Bridges – rhythm guitar
    • Ronnie Foster – organ
    • Larry "Nastyee" Latimer – percussion
    • Stevie Wonder – vocals, piano, bass synthesizer, drums
  5. "Ordinary Pain" (Wonder) – 6:16
    • Mike Sembello – lead guitar
    • Hank Redd – alto saxophone
    • Stevie Wonder – lead vocals, Fender Rhodes, bass synthesizer, drums
    • 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
  1. "Isn't She Lovely" (Wonder) – 6:34
  2. "Joy Inside My Tears" (Wonder) – 6:30
    • Stevie Wonder – lead vocals, background vocals, piano, bass synthesizer, drums
    • Greg Phillinganes – keyboard
    • Susaye Green – background vocals
  3. "Black Man"(Byrd/Wonder) – 8:27
    • Stevie Wonder – Fender Rhodes, bass synthesizer, synthesizer, talk box, drums, percussion
    • Hank Redd – alto saxophone, tenor saxophone
    • Steve Madaio – trumpet
    • George Bohanon – trombone
    • Glen Ferris – trombone

Side four
  1. "Ngiculela – Es Una Historia – I Am Singing" (Wonder) – 3:48
    • Charles Brewer, Shirley Brewer, Renee Hardaway, Nelson Hayes, Marietta Waters, Nathan Watts, John Fischbach, Amale Mathews, Josette Valentino – background percussion
    • Stevie Wonder – vocals, Koto synthesizer, bass synthesizer, drums
    • Zulu translation by Thoko Mdalose Hall, Spanish translation by Raymond Maldonado
  1. "If It's Magic" (Wonder) – 3:12
  1. "As" (Wonder) – 7:08
    • Nathan Watts – bass, handclaps
    • Dean Parks – guitar
    • Herbie Hancock – Fender Rhodes, handclaps
    • Greg Brown – drums
    • Stevie Wonder – lead and background vocal, Fender Rhodes
    • Mary Lee Whitney – background vocals
    • Dave Hanson, Yolanda Simon, Josette Valentino – handclaps
  1. "Another Star" (Wonder) – 8:08
    • Bobbi Humphrey – flute
    • George Benson – guitar and background vocals
    • Hank Redd – alto saxophone
    • Raymond Maldonado – trumpet
    • Trevor Laurence – tenor saxophone
    • Steve Madaio – trumpet
    • Nathan Alford, Jr. – percussion
    • Carmello Hungria Garcia – timbales
    • Stevie Wonder – lead vocal and background vocals, piano, drums
    • Nathan Watts – bass
    • Josie James – background vocals

A Something's Extra

The "A Something's Extra" 7" extended play was included with the special-edition version of the original LP. These tracks are also on most CD versions of the album, as well as the Blu-ray Audio.[7] They were either split between both discs or added to the end of the second disc.

Side one
  1. "Saturn" (Michael Sembello, Wonder) – 4:54
    • Mike Sembello – lead guitar
    • Ben Bridges – rhythm guitar
    • Gregory Phillinganes – keyboard
    • Stevie Wonder – all other instruments
  2. "Ebony Eyes" (Wonder) – 4:11

Side two
  1. "All Day Sucker" (Wonder) – 5:06
    • Ben Bridges – rhythm guitar
    • Mike Sembello – rhythm guitar
    • W. G. "Snuffy" Walden – lead guitar
    • Stevie Wonder – lead vocals, background vocals, bass synthesizer, Clavinet, drums
    • Carolyn Denis – background vocals
  2. "Easy Goin' Evening (My Mama's Call)" (Wonder) – 3:55
    • Nathan Watts – bass
    • Stevie Wonder – Fender Rhodes, harmonica, drums

CD release

No. TitleWriter(s) Length
1. "Love's in Need of Love Today"  Stevie Wonder 7:06
2. "Have a Talk with God"  Wonder, Calvin Hardaway 2:42
3. "Village Ghetto Land"  Wonder, Gary 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

Personnel

  • 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 – vocals
  • Michael Gray – vocals
  • Susaye Greene – vocals
  • William Moore – vocals
  • Fountain Jones – programming
  • Aisha Morris – crying on "Isn't She Lovely"

Singles

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

References