Taking more than two years from conception to release, Stevie Wonder's classic 1976 double album, Songs in the Key of Life, is now generally considered his finest creative hour in an enduring, influential career of nearly four decades. Songs in the Key of Life is also regarded by many music fans as one of the outstanding albums to appear in that entire timespan.
Released in October 1976, Songs in the Key of Life entered the U.S. Billboard album chart at No. 1 and remained there for 14 weeks, topping off a 44-week chart residency in the Top 40. Its success amply rewarded Motown Records' earlier $13 million investment in Wonder when it had re-signed him to the label. The deal was the largest in recording history at the time.
Songs in the Key of Life also reached No. 2 in the U.K., remaining on the charts for over a year, and was a worldwide best seller. Two singles from the album, "I Wish" and "Sir Duke" (the latter dedicated to the great jazz legend Duke Ellington), both reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and were also U.K. Top 10 hits.
This outstanding chart success was consolidated when Steve Wonder won Album of the Year at the 1976 Grammy Awards. He was also named Producer of the Year and won the Best Male Vocal Performance category.
The remarkable story behind Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life project is told here. Stevie himself reminisces about the inspiration for the album, and there are also contributions from Motown founder (and Wonder father figure) Berry Gordy, Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, and lyricist Gary Byrd, among many others. In addition, there is a unique reunion of the musicians who played on the original album sessions.
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The making of Stevie Wonder's 1976 double-album masterpiece Songs in the Key of Life--still his linchpin work--is entertainingly recounted in this Classic Albums documentary on the 20th anniversary of its release. Interviews with Wonder and the musicians and technicians involved revisit many now-classic songs like "I Wish," "Sir Duke," and "Isn't She Lovely" (which includes a vocal appearance by Wonder's then-infant daughter, Aisha, who two decades later discusses her contribution). The record's lasting influence is brought up by producer Quincy Jones, keyboardist Herbie Hancock, and the rapper Coolio, who had a smash hit in 1995 with "Gangsta's Paradise," a reworking of Wonder's "Pastime Paradise." Reuniting with the musicians, Wonder runs through some of these classic tunes, one of several highlights. --Kevin Filipski
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Descripción Rhino / Wea 1999-06-30, 1999. DVD. Estado de conservación: good. DVD Video. 6305320616. Nº de ref. de la librería 702866