It was a great British Sunday for Stevie Wonder, who returned to the top 15 of the UK album chart and celebrated with an epic headline set at London’s Calling Festival.
With the Motown legend’s ‘Another Star’ continuing to ring out on a daily basis from the BBC’s coverage of the soccer World Cup, the album it comes from, ‘Songs In The Key Of Life,’ yesterday re-entered the British album chart at No. 14.
Perhaps surprisingly, although it reached No. 1 in the US, Canada, France and Holland on its release in 1976, the classic double album was never a UK chart-topper. It debuted at a rather modest No. 18 (seven places below prog-rock artist Steve Hillage’s ‘L’) and went on to peak at No. 2, although it did spend more than a year on the chart in its first run.
Stevie’s London performance opened with ‘Masterblaster (Jammin’)’ and concluded with ‘Superstition.’ At one point, in familiar joking mood, he put on his best British accent and claimed he was born and raised in Brixton. He also paid tribute to a fellow soul star who passed away last Friday at the age of 70.
“It’s always a painful thing when we lose someone in this industry,” he said. “But each time we lose someone, we can say we are left with their musical history. I saw him last right here in England, I want to give my condolences to his family and hope that he is in the best place spiritually. Please give a hand to Bobby Womack!” Stevie and the band then launched into a version of Womack’s great ballad ‘If You Think You’re Lonely Now.’
Earlier, Blue Note’s Gregory Porter headlined the Pepsi Max Stage, including songs from his ‘Liquid Spirit’ album, which currently holds at No. 12 in the UK chart. Jack Johnson, Paloma Faith and Michael Kiwanuka all impressed in their performances on the Calling Festival main stage.
Stevie now moves on to further European festival appearances throughout July, with shows lined up in Luxembourg, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Holland, France, Switzerland and Italy.