When I was young, I’d often be called “Stevie Wonder.” It’s just something that happens when you’re a kid, and your name is Steve. I don’t resemble the real one in any way, but I’ve always thought of him as being a genuine and kind human being, so I hope I took it as a compliment.
I was putting together a playlist last night and, while cruising through my digital collection, was listening to Gideon Coe’s program, on BBC 6 Music. The instalment from yesterday is titled, “Label of Love is London American Recordings” and is available on BBC Sounds at for the next 29 days. I don’t always like his playlists, but last night it was terrific.
There were several songs on the program by artists I know, like Stevie Wonder, The Kinks, and Bo Diddley, but it was the first time I heard the songs of theirs that were played. One such piece was “Village Ghetto Land,” from Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life album. The were many other artists that I had never heard of before.
I remember listening to tracks from Songs in the Key of Life when it came out in 1976, but strangely I don’t ever recall hearing today’s song. It’s a beautiful tune. The keyboard and string arrangement reminded me so much of the tone and mood of the songs in musical movies of the 1950s like Singin’ in the Rain, Sunny Side of the Street, and West Side Story. (Sweety thought today’s song sounded a bit like “Pop Goes the Weasel.”) But the story isn’t “Hollywood” at all: it’s telling the story of life in the ghetto; a juxtaposition of the story with the music.
I found it was really worth listening to, while pondering inequities and injustices in our society.
Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.
Here’s the official audio from Stevie Wonder’s YouTube channel: