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Stevie Wonder brings legendary songs to Washington

Stacy M. Brown | 11/3/2014, 6 a.m.
Area residents will get the second chance in less than a month to relive the glory days of the Motown ...
Stevie Wonder will perform at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, November 9, 2014. The D.C. concert is just one of 11 shows that he will perform on his new concert tour. (Courtesy Photo/Showbiz411)

Area residents will get the second chance in less than a month to relive the glory days of the Motown sound.

Motown Records legend Stevie Wonder is celebrating his seminal 1976 album, “Songs in the Key of Life,” during a new concert tour, which arrives at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, November 9, 2014.

“The record came to me naturally,” Wonder said during an earlier interview for his late mother’s biography, “Blind Faith: The Miraculous Journey of Lula Hardaway, Stevie Wonder’s Mother,” published by Simon & Shuster. “My daughter (Aisha Morris) was just born and I had fully recovered from an accident and everything clicked,” he said of the “Songs in the Key of Life” album, the most successful of Wonder’s hall of fame career.

The album spawned such hits as, “I Wish,” “Sir Duke,” “Another Star,” and “Isn’t She Lovely,” which was dedicated to his then newborn daughter, Aisha.

“On, ‘Isn’t She Lovely,’ Stevie indulges those of us who want beloved songs to go on,” said Bill Janovitz, a music writer for the New York Observer. “The album is an emotional juggernaut, an immensely generous gift from the heart of a genius, and a masterpiece by almost any measure.”

Wonder’s D.C. concert, one of just 11 shows that the 64-year-old singer will perform on the tour, arrives in the nation’s capital just two weeks after fellow Motown alum Gladys Knight mesmerized an audience during her concert at the Warner Theatre in Washington.

Wonder will open the tour at New York’s famed Madison Square Garden on Thursday, Nov. 6, and, in addition to Washington, the icon will perform in Philadelphia; Boston; Chicago; Las Vegas; Seattle; Auburn Hills, Michigan; Atlanta; and Toronto, Canada.

Wonder set forth to cover the breadth suggested by the album’s title, nothing less than the “key of life,” Janovitz said.

And if he did not quite hit it all, his aim was true. It was the culmination of a four-album run astonishingly released in just a 39-month timeframe of sustained excellence unmatched aside from the Mt. Rushmore of 1960s-1970s giants of popular music— the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and maybe Van Morrison.

“Over the course of the sprawling record, two full-length LPs and a four-song 7-inch EP, he makes nary a misstep. From the musical compositions, to the lyrics, astonishing performances and sterling production, it has to be counted as one of the greatest records of all time. If simply judged as an album of vocal performances, I can think of none better.”

Janovitz also noted that the album arrived from one of the “greatest singers of the 20th and 21st centuries at the prime of his abilities” and it was the first album released under Wonder’s staggering new seven-year, $37 million contract with Motown Records.

“I love doing my best songs when I perform,” Wonder said in a previous interview. “Because people pay their hard-earned money and this is what they want.”

Tickets for the concert start at $61.80. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.verizoncenter.monumentalnetwork.com, livenation.com, or ticketmaster.com.