Songs in the Key of Life

( 18 )

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ganda Suthivarakom
This 1976 double album took Wonder two years to complete, but it was the grand slam that cemented Wonder's status as a musical visionary. Songs in the Key of Life is his most balanced synergy of spirituality, romance, and politics. Musically, Wonder combines immediate melodies with more complex orchestration than he had on previous albums. Triumphant horns introduce the euphoric "Sir Duke," while a funky organ melody underpins the Grammy-winning single "I Wish." Meanwhile, simple songs such as "Knocks Me off My Feet" and "Joy Inside My Tears" are as emotionally stunning as grander affairs like the big band celebration "Another Star" and the jazzy "Summer Soft." ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ganda Suthivarakom
This 1976 double album took Wonder two years to complete, but it was the grand slam that cemented Wonder's status as a musical visionary. Songs in the Key of Life is his most balanced synergy of spirituality, romance, and politics. Musically, Wonder combines immediate melodies with more complex orchestration than he had on previous albums. Triumphant horns introduce the euphoric "Sir Duke," while a funky organ melody underpins the Grammy-winning single "I Wish." Meanwhile, simple songs such as "Knocks Me off My Feet" and "Joy Inside My Tears" are as emotionally stunning as grander affairs like the big band celebration "Another Star" and the jazzy "Summer Soft." The reissue also includes four songs that originally accompanied the album on a 45 insert, including "Ebony Eyes," an homage to African-American women, and the sexy, guitar funk classic "All Day Sucker." The significance of this recording to soul music is immeasurable -- Songs in the Key of Life is an incomparable tribute to love, spirit, justice, and the joy of life itself.
All Music Guide - John Bush
Songs in the Key of Life was Stevie Wonder's longest, most ambitious collection of songs, a two-LP plus accompanying EP set that -- just as the title promised -- touched on nearly every issue under the sun, and did it all with ambitious even for him, wide-ranging arrangements and some of the best performances of Wonder's career. The opening "Love's in Need of Love Today" and "Have a Talk with God" are curiously subdued, but Stevie soon kicks into gear with "Village Ghetto Land," a fierce exposé of ghetto neglect set to a satirical Baroque synthesizer. Hot on its heels comes the torrid fusion jam "Contusion," a big, brassy hit tribute to the recently departed Duke Ellington in "Sir Duke," and another hit, this one a Grammy winner as well the bumping poem to his childhood, "I Wish." Though they didn't necessarily appear in order, Songs in the Key of Life contains nearly a full album on love and relationships, along with another full album on issues social and spiritual. Fans of the love album Talking Book can marvel that he sets the bar even higher here, with brilliant material like the tenderly cathartic and gloriously redemptive "Joy Inside My Tears," the two-part, smooth-and-rough "Ordinary Pain," the bitterly ironic "All Day Sucker," or another classic heartbreaker, "Summer Soft." Those inclined toward Stevie Wonder the social-issues artist had quite a few songs to focus on as well: "Black Man" was a Bicentennial school lesson on remembering the vastly different people who helped build America; "Pastime Paradise" examined the plight of those who live in the past and have little hope for the future; "Village Ghetto Land" brought listeners to a nightmare of urban wasteland; and "Saturn" found Stevie questioning his kinship with the rest of humanity and amusingly imagining paradise as a residency on a distant planet. If all this sounds overwhelming, it is; Stevie Wonder had talent to spare during the mid-'70s, and instead of letting the reserve trickle out during the rest of the decade, he let it all go with one massive burst. His only subsequent record of the '70s was the similarly gargantuan but largely instrumental soundtrack Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/2/2000
  • Label: Motown
  • UPC: 601215735727
  • Catalog Number: 157357
  • Sales rank: 21,394

Album Credits

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

Average Rating 4.5
( 18 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(14)

4 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A Must Have!!!!

    If You love Stevie Wonder, this is a must have. It has 4cds and covers a large portion of his career. You will not be dissapointed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Doesn't get any better!!!!!!

    What else can I say?! If there is one Stevie album to have, then THIS IS IT!!! The music is timeless &amp quot it sounds better than much of the sludge played on radio today&amp quot and the lyrics remain relevant 30+ years later. Just brilliant workmanship, production, lyrics, harmonies, melodies, the works!! This is a standard and all should live by &amp quot Songs in the Key of Life&amp quot !!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    KEY OF GENIUS

    This is a classic album he talks about everything from love to joy to pain to poverty this set the standard for all double albums

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A Masterpiece!!

    What more can be written about this album! I grew up listening to this timeless treasure and will hand it down to my son. Stevie's music will live on forever and other artist should aspire to create wonderful music like his.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    40 year old white boy

    Band on the Run, Graceland, Santana. A few priceless albums which transcend race, culture and gender. Stevie rates w/the best of all time and this record simply sends it home. Long live Stevie.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Stevie is the master key to music life

    This album, is one of the greatests works that he was done. With some unatural guidance, he was change the direction of music in the world. As a musichan, I can say "IT´S THE BEST ALBUM THAT I´VE EVER HEARD". But is not the only one

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Musical Genius

    With the exception of the masterpiece ode to his daughter, ''Isn't She Lovely'', songs that stand out to me on this album are the ones that tend to get less airplay. Each day, people living in my area can catch me singing at least one of these songs; ''Another Star'', ''Ngiculela'', ''Summer Soft'', ''Knocks Me Off My Feet'', ''Ordinary Pain'', ''As'', ''Saturn'', and of course, ''Isn't She Lovely'', as loud as humanly possible. I really love this album and it actually stands out from my 20 other beloved Stevie Wonder albums because it had SO many great ballads. Anything this man touches is GOLD.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    No wonder he's the best

    Stevie Wonder is a very talented musician and that is evident in this album. I could not tear myself away from my stereo while listening to this cd. I can't even pick one song on the album that is my favorite because I love them all....This is a great album to add to your music collection

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    One of America's Treasures

    Stevie Wonder is truly my favorite musician. This album ranks as one of the most wonderful pieces of music ever written. Is there anything more beautiful than the simplicity of Knocks Me Off My Feet? It is the embodiment of love when it first stirs your heart and lifts your soul. If anyone were to write the soundtrack for the movie of my life, it would be Mr. Stevie Wonder.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    STEVIE'S MUSIC

    STEVIE WONDER IS ONE OF THE GREATEST ARTISTS OF ALL TIME HIS MUSIC THE KIND OF MUSIC I LOVE TO HEAR SONGS IN THE KEY OF LIFE IS HIS GREATEST ALBUM EVER IT WON THE GRAMMY FOR ALBUM OF THE YEAR IN 1977 AND ALSO IN A VH-1 POLL IT WAS NAMED THE GREATEST ALBUM EVER

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    As is the most beautiful song ever written

    Everytime I hear it I remember that life keeps on going even when you have paused to take a break from it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    I'm in love

    Stevie is so incredible he really surpasses words. The song saturn and ebony eyes are my personal favorites on this album. My mother must have inbred love for his music in me as a child because I never get enough of him. This album epitomizes his artistry.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    ronblair 4 star review

    stevie wonder was at his very best with this cross over album

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews