My Pleasure to Describe. . .

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It was one of the best nights all year on television. I could not have

had a more fantastic experience than listening to Stevie Wonder’s

Songs in the Key of Life,” performed by young and old artists alike.

The Grammy’s Tribute show last year was for the Beatles, this time

it was for an American who has given not only to our musical world,

but to our civil rights movement.

 

The song Beyonce, Ed Sheeran performed ‘right off the bat,’ an

upbeat medley of “Master Blaster (Jammin’), Fingertips (part II)

and the one which had us all excited, “Higher Ground.” Beyonce

mixing around among the people and onstage had me enthralled

and up dancing, while waiting for my Orange Ginger non-caffeinated

herbal tea to cool off. I had a little tray of foods, one of those Cuties,

(little tangerines), some cashews, two pieces (I am careful to ‘divvy’

up my Valentine’s Day treats’ stash) of Ghiardelli chocolate, thanks to

Jenny, and a half cup of buttered popcorn. I have gained 8 pounds

from the end of Summer until the present time.

 

LL Cool J was the host or emcee for the night and was enthusiastic,

keeping the program moving and audience motivated. He is one of

the most gracious hosts, I feel, on television award programs.

 

John Legend, accompanied by piano and rhythm percussion was

awesome in his rendition of, “I believe when I fall in love . . . it will

be forever.” This is John’s moment, he has been everywhere, enjoying

well deserved fame in his collaboration with “Common” on the award

winning song, “Glory,” which was part of  the “Selma” film soundtrack.

 

Maya Rudolph, of Saturday Night Live fame, warmly thanked Stevie

Wonder for his awesome contributions and told a short casual story

of how Stevie played music at her home as a child, since her mother

was a close friend of his. She also told him “thank you” from her Mom.

 

When I heard that Lady Gaga was up next, I rushed to use take my

break during the commercial, so I would be squarely placed in my

love seat, warm and cozy with a blanket wrapped around me. I was

“ready” to be entertained. She began by telling Stevie that his CD was

her first one she ever was allowed to put into the CD player. The

moment she heard the CD begin to play, she said she knew it was a

monumental part of her life. She is one of the most chameleon-like

musicians, blending her own magic along with making the song

sound like the artist, too. Lady Gaga was ‘channeling’ her inner

Stevie Wonder while singing the moving song, “I Wish.”

 

To describe Lady Gaga’s tone and vocal performance I would have

to include that she used a different voice from her strident songs, it

had the sounds and endings of words ‘mellowed out,’ while she still

belted out the words. When you hear someone from the country or

someone who is laid back, there is a softening (not slurring) of the

consonant sounds.

 

Lady Gaga blended the words to connect together beautifully. While

jumping around on the piano bench, playing and shaking her head

back and forth, she presented the image and sound of Stevie Wonder,

miraculously, while singing within her own higher vocal range.

 

“Signed, Sealed and Delivered,” was performed by Ariana Grande

and Baby Face. Something I had never known before was this song

was co-written by Stevie’s mother. Ariana soared in the higher

octaves, effortlessly and Baby Face was sweetly sang this love song.

I enjoyed this duet and the young couple made it relevant to the time.

 

Next came, Annie Lennox. Wow! She is also having a great year, like

John Legend. No one could ever listen to her singing and think she

had aged a day. Her voice can be ‘gritty’ when there were some places

needing an emphasis on the emotion, along with hauntingly beautiful.

She say, “Ma Cherie, Amour.” It had been a long time since I heard it,

so I was very entranced by the words and musical performance for

this Stevie ‘wonder.’

 

Pharrell (of “Happy” fame) is one of my favorites, my grandies love

him so. He sang a duet with Ryan Tedder. It was one of the best songs

of the night, “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing.” Oh, it gave me tingles!

 

Paul McCartney was taped and gave a funny and caring tribute to

the young Stevie who was named, “Stephen Morris,” according to

Sir Paul. He told the famous singer and audience that he knew him

before he was “discovered by Motown” and just knew he would be a

successful singer and artist. He said he was a “wonder” and then,

you won’t believe this, unless you heard it, he was ‘bloopered’ out

or censored, but you could see him saying this illustrious compliment

to Stevie Wonder:

“You are f- – – – ing great!”

 

Tony Bennett did a fantastic performance of, “For Once in My Life,”

which fit his singing rand and impeccable style. It was such a ‘class

act’ and tribute to Stevie, too.  Here is an approximation of what Tony

said before he sang:

 

“People may view Stevie Wonder as an entertainer but he is the

Greatest Jazz Musician and Artist of all time!” (I got teary eyed,

at this emotional expression of respect and love of S. W.)

 

The song Tony Bennett sang was accompanied by piano and the

percussion instruments. There was a cymbal tapping the beat,

it made it quite jazzy and ‘new’ to me, all over again.

 

Ed Sheeran is so talented and an inspiration. This is what he also

declared Stevie Wonder to be.  He showed honor in these words,

before he sang with many instruments and “I Was Made to Love

You,” came to be another favorite moment of my show watching.

There was soul in his singing, emphasized by his ‘ah’s’ and sighs.

 

 

The Band Perry did well, after Tyler Perry announced they were

‘related’ and gave them a ‘shout out.’ I felt the band did well, but

would have liked a little bit more ‘edge’ to the song which was

political and also, against President Richard Nixon:

“You Haven’t Done Nothing.” I know this is blasphemous but I

would have liked Lady Antebellum sing this, since she is sometimes

able to be saucy and edgy in her singing.

 

India Ari and Janelle performed, “As” or “Always,”  which is  always

loving as long as the stars shine…. until trees…. and Just as …. I”ll

be loving you always. This trio were wonderful and were given a great

send off by the last of the “Supremes,” Mary Wilson. Lovely trio.

 

An operatic tenor sang, “New Year’s Day,” but admitted he was not as

familiar with the song as others who have listened to it over the years.

He did make a friendly comment, “It’s not just a song. . .”

I love how it begins: “I just want to say I love you. . . from the bottom of

my heart.”

 

Neo sang a song which has a deep meaning for Stevie Wonder, when he

first saw his daughter Aisha, (who got up on stage and told this story)-

“Isn’t She Lovely?”

 

There was a fantastic quote I will close this review of the highlights of

the tribute show for Stevie Wonder:

(taken from “Visions” (1973))

“Do we have to find our wings and fly away to the visions of our mind?”

 

I am heading off to my own musical wonderland!

Marley (of M & M’s) is singing at a Kindergarten Winter Song Fest!

Sending you warm feelings and hugs. . .

 

Let me know your favorite Stevie Wonder song, please!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About reocochran

I am experiencing crazy and hapless adventures in dating that may interest people over fifty. I am now approaching 62 later this year and enjoy taking photographs, incorporating stories or poetry on my blog. I have many old posts which are informative and written like essays. I have several love stories collected from family and friends. Even strangers spill their stories, since I am a grown version of the girl next door. I have been trying to live a healthy lifestyle with better food selections and active hiking and walking. I have written four children's books and illustrated them. They are not published but a battered women's shelter used one about neglect and abuse for their children's program and a 4H group used my "Kissing a Bunny is like saying a Prayer" as a coloring book. Please comment or respond so I may get a chance to know you. Sincerely, Robin

30 responses »

    • Oh, thanks so much for providing his name!! Yippee! I was really sad they didn’t put little captions for those who may have been crunching and munching too loud to hear the names of the famous people who sang! Bravo!!

    • Thank you so very much, since you are one of the ones I was going to ask what your favorite part was?
      I enjoyed Stevie Wonder’s collection or medley of songs which he sang so easily. His voice just glided out, no problems, still very smooth and clear. I liked “I Can Feel It All Over,” “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” and how he had the men sing “You” while looking at their partner, then having the women do the same…. Also, his final speech, something like:
      “I cannot leave this stage, this place, this Planet without telling you I love you. . . It feels better to love than to hate.” Wow, right?

      • There wasn’t one bum in the lot, but for me, the standout performance was Jill Scott, Janelle Monae, and India Arie. No diva stuff, no competition or showing off. They sang the roof off the place. I could listen to them together over and over.

      • Oh so glad you clarified the names of the trio!! Yippee for friends who know all the names. I appreciate this comment, they were indeed extraordinary and brilliant!!

  1. i love when you describe these shows, robin. quite often i miss a huge part of them as i fall asleep early. it sounds like it was a wonderful show. my fav stevie song: ribbons in the sky.

    • Oh, Beth! Stevie did sing this one, near the end. I am so glad you mentioned this one! It is a great song!
      I stopped writing my review so I could get to see Marley sing and enjoy their Chili winter family event. We ate our meal in the gymnasium of her elementary while the kindergarten sang.

      Both Landen and Marley had their artwork up. I felt bad, the teachers came up with a great fund-raising idea. But there were many folks who didn’t go for it. They framed the children’s art pieces and then were charging $25 apiece. When someone was standing next to Landen with his framed (and paid for) piece, Landen turned and asked his Mom and my son if he was going to get to take his home. I really felt bad, but didn’t say a word in front of his parents or the other families. (Many were not taking theirs home either.) I purchased everyone’s chili, hot dogs, chips, drinks and desserts but did not really have the money for two children’s art. ($50) I suppose there was a letter sent home which Jamie and Trista may have decided they already have a lot of framed pieces in their home of all 4 children’s art. They love making murals, too.

      • Aw that makes me so sad to hear. When I was in Nashville I bought some children’s art sold the same way. Think it’s a great idea but know it’s hard unless you have a lot of money at that time –

      • Oh, I guess this was meant to say it made me feel sad, but not too much… I did get photos of each child with their piece of artwork. Marley’s was of bunnies in snow while Landen’s was a drawing of someone (he says it is not him!) in a snowsuit and has skis. We all didn’t get too worried, since kids do a lot of art all the time! Smiles!

  2. So many great songs from Stevie, and your recap was great since I missed the telecast. If I had to pick a favorite (which is not easy), I would choose ‘Living for the City’ from 1974, maybe because it had special meaning during my younger years… and it rocked! – Mike

    • I love this song, since it has a deep meaning, along with a great tempo, Mike! I am also a person who listened to this in my younger days. It is one of his less played songs, too.

      I am pretty sure it was not on the list of songs I listened to the other night. I did have a medley which I added to Apple Pie and Napalm’s comment’s response. Along with a very special speech Stevie gave to the audience present and the listeners out in t.v. land. It went like this: “I cannot leave this stage, this place, this Planet without telling you I love you. I love you because God wishes us to love one another and it feels better to love than to hate.”

      Also, didn’t know that there was a song Stevie Wonder wrote to get everyone who was marching together to feel uplifted and it was a different version of “Happy Birthday.” Stevie also was acknowledged for getting the movement towards adding Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. I missed this piece of history, Mike!

  3. So sorry I missed this. I was engrossed in a book and completely lost track of time. Great recap, though, Robin. I would have enjoyed hearing Pharrell. I loved “You Haven’t Done Nothin!” It’s in my mental sountrack!!!

    • I sure did love that song, which our class yearbook had a candle of President Richard Nixon, wherever they got it, I am unsure of this, but one of our yearbook staff lit it and then blew it out in two photos. I think there were things he did that were meaningful but the song was written to issue a complaint: “You Haven’t Done Nothin'” is in my memories or mental soundtrack, too, Barb. A book takes precedence, often in my thinking over television! You can always look up the duets, which usually are on Youtube. I loved Pharell, as mentioned he is still one of my favorites! Ed Sheeran was great, too.

    • I may have heard “Overjoyed,” but didn’t hear the title, as it was announced.
      But, I don’t think so, Diahann! Thanks for adding to the list of songs Stevie Wonder sang that meant something to you, as well.
      You can look up the duets or trios on Youtube, but not sure if On Demand may have it in its entirety. I would watch it again. I will check at my library to see in the future if they get this, too. I would not mind listening and watching last year’s “:Grammy’s Tribute to the Beatles” again. It was awesome, too.

    • Thank you saying I filled you in and yet, there are several performances I did not have time to write out. You will enjoy the whole show, Mark! You have been very busy with live musical entertainment, movies and sports events, too. You are a busy man. I can relate to the feeling of being left behind when so much is going on! Stay warm and enjoy your soon to be weekend, Mark!

      • I have events to attend Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Robin, and I just got back from my bowling league tonight. I am feeling a bit overbooked. 🙂

      • Aww! Every time I open other people’s blogs, they have the same story so yours changes so much it is hard to keep up with.
        Life and enjoying your activities, should take priority over blogging, but you blog on entertainment, so there you are busy as a beaver. I only can barely visit you and press, “Like,” so we will try to stay in touch.
        Enjoy all three days worth of exciting plans, Mark! smiles

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