It’s been a milestone year for Motown legend and former child prodigy Stevie Wonder, whose soul-stirring songs have brought him millions of fans and more than two dozen Grammy Awards.
The beloved musician recently received two national honors, in addition to launching one of his most ambitious tours in years.
Wonder’s current “Songs in the Key of Life” tour, which includes a concert Wednesday, Dec. 3, at KeyArena, features 21 songs from the landmark album that was chosen Grammy Album of the Year in 1977, a period when Grammy accolades were piling up for the soul/R&B artist who has been blind since shortly after his birth.
People talk about bucket-list shows, and this could be one of them.
The tour features a song cycle from Wonder’s greatest album, including “Love’s in Need of Love Today,” “Have a Talk With God,” “Sir Duke,” “Ebony Eyes,” “Isn’t She Lovely,” “Black Man,” “If It’s Magic” and other tracks.
Born Stevland Hardaway Morris in Saginaw, Mich., the 64-year-old soul/R&B legend was honored Nov. 18 at the ASCAP Centennial Awards gala in New York City, where he gave an emotional speech that hushed the crowd, according to Billboard.com.
“It is an amazing world,” Wonder said, “when you think about writing songs and talking about things when people say, ‘How can you write about that and you can’t see them?’ But the reality is seeing, is feeling them; feeling them is in the spirit.”
On Nov. 24, President Obama awarded the Motown star the Presidential Medal of Freedom in a ceremony at the White House honoring 19 individuals.
Wonder began his recording career at 12 on Motown’s Tamla label and is known for inspirational anthems of peace and love.
He was at the top of his game when “Songs in the Key of Life” was released in 1976. It reached No. 1 on the national album chart and stayed there 13 weeks.
The autobiographical double LP (with a bonus four-song EP) was ambitious and lyrically challenging. When it was added to the National Recording Registry, the Library of Congress declared it “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.”
Wonder summed up his thoughts about the album in an interview with Q magazine in 1995: “Of all the albums, it’s ‘Songs in the Key of Life’ that I’m most happy about. Just the time, being alive then. To be a father and then … letting God give me the energy and strength I needed.”
Now, nearly four decades after “Songs” was released, fans can experience the magic of Wonder’s signature album live at KeyArena. It’s a milestone worth celebrating.
8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 3, at KeyArena, 305 Harrison St., Seattle; $35.50-$145.50 (800-745-3000 or ticketmaster.com).