Stevie Wonder has something extra special in the bag of goodies he'll be toting to his 18th House Full of Toys holiday benefit concert in Los Angeles: He's going to perform the entire "Songs in the Key of Life" album at the Dec. 21 show.
That double LP was named album of the year for the 1976 Grammy Awards, and earned Wonder three other statues, as producer of the year and pop male vocal performance for the album as a whole and R&B male vocal performance for the track "I Wish."
It held the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 albums chart for 14 weeks, remained on that chart for 80 weeks and has been certified by the RIAA for sales of more than 10 million copies in the U.S., and topped many music critics' year-end best albums lists for 1976. The album contained four singles that made the Billboard Hot 100: "I Wish" and "Sir Duke," both of which reached No. 1, along with "Another Star" and "As," which charted in the Top 40.
"This is my celebration of song, life and love," Wonder said Tuesday at a news conference at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live, where the concert will take place. "What is amazing to me is how relevant this album is today. After all, I could never write all the songs in the key of life; but there will be others who will carry on the message of song, love and life."
Wonder plans to enlist the services of some of the musicians who played on the album originally and will also feature performances by both younger and veteran musicians. Wonder spearheads the event at which unwrapped new toys are collected for people in need.
Tickets for this year's show go on sale Nov. 1 at 10 a.m. Pacific time at AXS.com or by phone at 888-929-7849.
Follow Randy Lewis on Twitter: @RandyLewis2