1976 Stevie Wonder – Songs In The Key Of Life

Songs In The Key Of Life is the eighteenth studio album by American singer, songwriter and musician Stevie Wonder. It was released on September 28, 1976, by Tamla Records, a division of Motown. The double album has been regarded by music journalists as the culmination of Wonder’s “classic period” of recording. 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 conducted at Crystal Sound.

By 1974, Wonder was one of the most successful figures in popular music; Wonder’s previous albums Talking Book, Innervisions and Fulfillingness’ First Finale were all back-to-back critical successes. However, by the end of 1975, Wonder seriously considered quitting the music industry and planned to emigrate to Ghana to work with disabled children. Plans for a farewell concert had begun, but Wonder subsequently changed his mind and signed a new contract with Motown on August 5, 1975. This outlined a seven-year, seven-album, $37 million deal with full artistic control. At the time, it was the biggest recording deal in history.

Songs in the Key of Life was released as a double LP with a four-song bonus EP. It debuted at number one on the Billboard Pop Albums Chart becoming only the third album to achieve that feat and the first by an American artist at the time. Both the lead single “I Wish” and follow-up single “Sir Duke” reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Songs in the Key of Life spent thirteen consecutive weeks at number one on the Billboard 200, becoming the album with the most weeks at number one during the year. It was the second best-selling album of 1977 in the US. In 2005, Songs in the Key of Life was certified Diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Songs in the Key of Life won Album of the Year at the 19th Grammy Awards. It is the best-selling and most critically acclaimed album of Wonder’s career. Widely regarded as Wonder’s magnum opus and one of the greatest albums in the history of recorded music, many musicians have remarked on the quality of the album and its influence on their own work; indeed, some notable musicians have named it as the greatest album of all time. It was voted number 89 in Colin Larkin’s All Time Top 1000 Albums and ranked number 4 on Rolling Stone’s list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. In 2002, it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.[10] In 2005, Songs in the Key of Life was inducted into the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress, which deemed it “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.


1  Love’s In Need Of Love Today (Stevie Wonder) 07:10
2  Have A Talk With God (Calvin Hardaway; Stevie Wonder) 02:46
3  Village Ghetto Land (Shatema Byrd; Stevie Wonder) 03:30
4  Contusion (Stevie Wonder) 03:50
Sir Duke (Stevie Wonder) 03:52
6  I Wish (Stevie Wonder) 04:12
7  Knocks Me Off My Feet (Stevie Wonder) 03:36
8  Pastime Paradise (Stevie Wonder) 03:30
9  Summer Soft (Stevie Wonder) 04:15
10  Ordinary Pain (Stevie Wonder) 06:27
11  Isn’t She Lovely (Stevie Wonder) 06:36
12  Joy Inside My Tears (Stevie Wonder) 06:30
13  Black Man (Stevie Wonder; Shatema Byrd) 08:30
14  Ngiculela – Es Una Historia – I Am Singing (Stevie Wonder) 03:50
15  If It’s Magic (Stevie Wonder) 03:12
16  As (Stevie Wonder) 07:07
17  Another Star (Stevie Wonder) 08:21
18  Saturn (Stevie Wonder; Michael Sembello) 04:55
19  Ebony Eyes (Stevie Wonder) 04:10
20  All Day Sucker (Stevie Wonder) 05:06
21  Easy Goin’ Evening (My Mama’s Call) (Stevie Wonder) 03:57


MusicianStevie Wonder
ProgrammingStevie Wonder
ProgrammingCharles Brewer
ProgrammingJohn Fischbach
ProgrammingGary Olazabal
VocalsStevie Wonder

Other Musicians

1 Love’s In Need Of Love Today

CollingaEddie Brown

4 Contusion

BassNathan Watts
DrumsRaymond Pounds
GuitarMichael Sembello
GuitarBen Bridges
KeyboardsGreg Phillinganes
Background VocalsArtece May
Background VocalsJosie James
Background VocalsMichael Gray
Background VocalsShirley Brewer

5 Sir Duke

BassNathan Watts
DrumsRaymond Pounds
GuitarMichael Sembello
GuitarBen Bridges
SaxTrevor Lawrence Sr
SaxHank Redd
TrumpetRay Maldonaldo
TrumpetSteve Madaio

6 I Wish

BassNathan Watts
DrumsRaymond Pounds
SaxHank Redd
SaxTrevor Lawrence Sr
TrumpetRay Maldonaldo
TrumpetSteve Madaio
Background VocalsRenee Hardaway

8 Pastime Paradise

PercussionBobbye Hall
PercussionRay Maldonaldo

9 Summer Soft

GuitarBen Bridges
OrganRonnie Foster
PercussionLarry Latimer

10 Ordinary Pain

GuitarMichael Sembello
SaxHank Redd
Background VocalsLynda Laurence
Background VocalsCharity McCrary
Background VocalsLinda McCrary
Background VocalsDeniece Williams
Background VocalsMadelaine Jones
Background VocalsMary Lee Whitney
Background VocalsMinnie Riperton
Background VocalsSundray Tucker
Background VocalsSyreeta Wright
Background VocalsTerry Hendricks
VocalsShirley Brewer

11 Isn’t She Lovely

KeyboardsGreg Phillinganes

13 Black Man

SaxHank Redd
TromboneGeorge Bohanon
TromboneGlenn Ferris
TrumpetSteve Madaio

14 Ngiculela – Es Una Historia – I Am Singing

PercussionAmale Mathews
PercussionCharles Brewer
PercussionJohn Fischbach
PercussionJosette Valentino
PercussionMarietta Waters
PercussionNathan Watts
PercussionNelson Hayes
PercussionRenee Hardaway
PercussionShirley Brewer

15 If It’s Magic

HarpDorothy Ashby

16 As

BassNathan Watts
DrumsGreg Brown
GuitarDean Parks
KeyboardsHerbie Hancock
Background VocalsMary Lee Whitney

17 Another Star

BassNathan Watts
GuitarGeorge Benson
FluteBobbi Humphrey
SaxHank Redd
SaxTrevor Lawrence Sr
TrumpetRay Maldonaldo
TrumpetSteve Madaio
TimbalesCarmelo Garcia
PercussionNathan Alford Jr
Background VocalsGeorge Benson
Background VocalsJosie James

18 Saturn

KeyboardsGreg Phillinganes
GuitarMichael Sembello
GuitarBen Bridges

19 Ebony Eyes

BassNathan Watts
Steel GuitarPete Kleinow
SaxJim Horn

20 All Day Sucker

GuitarSnuffy Walden
GuitarBen Bridges
GuitarMichael Sembello
Background VocalsCarolyn Dennis

21 Easy Goin’ Evening (My Mama’s Call)

BassNathan Watts


Backing Vocals (Hare Krishna) – Agnideva Dása, Baradras, Bhakta Eddie, Bhakta Gregory, Bhakta Kevin, Cinmayi Dasi, Duryodhana Guru Dása, Jayasacinandana Dása, Jitamrtyu Dása, Rukmini, Vedavyâsa Dása, Yogamaya Dasi (Track 8)

Backing Vocals (West Angeles Church Of God Choir) – Addie Cox, Carolyn Johnson, Dennis Swindell, Ethel Enoex, Jacqueline F. English, James Lambert, Lonnie Morgan, Michael Gray, Michael Wycoff, Phillip Kimble, Rosona Starks, Sheryl Walker (Track 8)

Chorus (Children) – Al Jocko Fann, Anthony Givens, Antonio Givens, Audrey Givens, Calvin Johnson, Carl Lockhart, Carolyn Massenburg, Derrick Givens, Doé Rain Edwards, Gail Lockhart, Gregory Rudd, Gwen Perry, Henry America, Irma Leslie, Jan Adams, Jean Brown, Jeania Harris, Keith Slaughter, Kim Lewis, Kim Nixon, Linda America, Lisa Nixon, Melani
Fann, Rodney Brown, Starshemah Bobatoon, Susie Fuzzell, Tracy Fann, Troy Harris (Track 13)

Chorus (Teachers) – Adrian James, Al Fann, Barbara Fann, Berry Bridges, Cecelia Brown, Gary Byrd, Gary Veney, Larri Nuckens, Mi Mi Green, Mildred Givens, Pat Johnson, Shelley Fann, Sudana Bobatoon, Willie Moore (Track 13)

Liner Notes

Producer – Stevie Wonder
Arranged By- Stevie Wonder
Effects (Special) – Don Hunter, Dr. Larry Scott, Fountain Jones, John Harris, Nelson Hayes
Engineer – Gary Olazabal, John Fischbach
Engineer (Assistant) – Chris Morris, David Henson, Howie Lindeman, Rick Smith, Steve D Smith
Mastered By – Andrew Berliner, Jeff Sanders

Art Direction – Motown Graphics Department
Illustration – Jim/Jan, Tony Warren

Engineered At Crystal Industries, Inc.
Engineered At The Hit Factory
Engineered At Record Plant, Los Angeles
Engineered At Record Plant, Sausalito
Mastered At Crystal Industries Inc
Mastered At Monarch Record
Phonographic Copyright Motown Record Corporation
Copyright Motown Record Corporation
Copyright Jobete Music Co. Inc.
Copyright Black Bull Music Inc