I Just Called To Say I Love You – Stevie Wonder

THIS DAY IN MUSIC…………………………………on September 7th of 1984 Stevie Wonder had his first UK #1 with “I Just Called To Say I Love You”, 18 years after his chart debut in 1966. “I Just Called To Say I Love You” is Stevie Wonder’s best-selling single worldwide, and also one of his most maligned. The song is about a guy who calls his special someone with a simple message of love. It’s very sweet, but to many, it crossed over to sickly. Wonder had moved to a more middle-of-the-road, adult contemporary sound when he released the song. His early hits like “Superstition” and “Higher Ground” were often filled with funk, but in the ’80s, songs like this one and “Part-Time Lover” had a smoother sound, resulting in big hits, but disappointment for those hoping for a classic Wonder groove. Wonder though, stood by the song, often playing it at live shows throughout his career. This won the Oscar for Best Original Song, beating out “Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now),” “Footloose,” “Let’s Hear It For The Boy” and “Ghostbusters.” All five nominees were #1 hits on the Hot 100, the only time that has happened. Wonder did not have a specific person in mind for this song – it was more of a universal feeling. “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life” is similar in sentiment. On October 13, 1984, this song reached the top of three different charts: Hot 100, Adult Contemporary and R&B, and stayed at the top of each for three weeks. In the UK it got an even warmer reception, going to #1 on September 8 and staying for six weeks, that last being October 13. Wonder claimed that while he wrote the music for this song in 1976, he “modernized” it when he added lyrics for the soundtrack. Wonder is an extremely prolific composer and was constantly coming up with songs that he would sometimes revisit much later. Wonder played every instrument on this track, produced it, and did all the vocals. The instruments were synthesizers, drums and vocoder. This is Motown’s biggest-selling single ever in the UK, where it was Wonder’s first #1. It was his eighth #1 in the US.