Isn't She Lovely

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"Isn't She Lovely"
Song by Stevie Wonder from the album Songs in the Key of Life
Released 1976
Genre R&B
Length 3:18 (radio edit)
6:34 (album version)
Songs in the Key of Life track listing
"Ordinary Pain"
(10)
"Isn't She Lovely"
(11)
"Joy Inside My Tears"
(12)

"Isn't She Lovely" is a song by Stevie Wonder, from his 1976 album Songs in the Key of Life. In it he celebrates the birth of his daughter, Aisha. There are three verses, each ending with the phrase "isn't she lovely, made from love" (or "so very lovely..."). The recording opens with the audio of a baby being born, and a lengthy outro featuring samples of Aisha playing with Wonder. The radio edit leaves out the baby noises from Aisha and has a much shorter outro.

Stevie Wonder performed this song live at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Concert on the 4th of June 2012, with lyrics modified to refer to the Queen.[1]

The album[edit]

The song, musically constructed over basic chord changes, is considered an example of the fusion of fundamental jazz and pop elements. Although the song was very popular and has received much radio airplay, it did not chart on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 because Stevie Wonder would not allow it to be released as a 45 RPM single despite being asked to do so by Motown. The song did make the Billboard Adult Contemporary charts as an "album cut," entering the AC Top 40 on January 8, 1977, staying there for five weeks and peaking at #23.[2]

Cover versions[edit]

  • A cover version by vocalist David Parton was a UK #4 hit in 1977.[3]
  • Tenor Saxophonist George Coleman included a version of this song on his 2001 album Danger High Voltage.
  • Saxophonist Sonny Rollins included a cover of this song on his 1977 album Easy Living.[4]
  • Jazz fusion artist Lee Ritenour also covered the song in his 1977 album, Captain Fingers.
  • Frank Sinatra recorded the song in 1979.
  • John McLaughlin quoted the chorus of the song in the final section of his own composition East Side, West Side in concert in 1984, as documented on Mahavishnu Orchestra's Live At Montreux 1974/1984 DVD set. In this version, McLaughlin's guitar synth was imitating the sound of Wonder's harmonica, and after performing the song McLaughlin added a dedication "to the pied piper of the world, Stevie Wonder".
  • In 1995, saxophonist Najee covered the song from his Stevie Wonder tribute album "Songs from the Key of Life."[5]
  • French guitarist Bireli Lagrene performed an instrumental version of the song on his 1999 album "Duet" accompanied by Sylvain Luc.
  • Blues musician Keb' Mo' has also covered the song on his 2001 album Big Wide Grin.
  • Saxophonist David Sanborn covered the song from his 2003 album "Time Again."[6][7]
  • The song was covered by the punk rock band Me First and the Gimme Gimmes on their album Take a Break.
  • It was covered by the a cappella group The Idea of North on their album Evidence.
  • Clay Aiken performs a cover on Scrubs at the end of the Season 4, Episode 17 episode My Life in Four Cameras.
  • An instrumental version of the song was played after Michelle Obama's speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.[citation needed]
  • Harry Styles of the British-Irish boyband One Direction used this as his audition song on The X Factor UK in 2010.
  • Solo bassist Victor Wooten did a cover of this song on 1-22-2010.
  • In 2011, the song was covered on the television series Glee by Artie with Sam, Finn, Puck, and Mike backing him up in the episode "Prom Queen". The song is directed towards Brittany in Home Economics class as an apology and a prom proposal.
  • In 2011, during a solo concert (One of four named "Super Show 1, 2,3, and now 4") of South Korean Group, Super Junior, vocalist Cho Kyuhyun sang a cover of this song during the Seoul chapter of this concert that later went to North and South America, Europe, all of Asia, and Australia.
  • In November 2012 an acoustic version sung by cancer victim Jimmy Higham and his friend and colleague John Walmsley made #41.[8] The song was released and proceeds of its electronic sales went to raise money for a bursary fund set up in Jimmy Higham's memory at Wellington College, Berkshire where he had worked as a member of staff. This version caused the original version to penetrate the UK Singles Chart at #94.[9]
  • In 2012, soul singer Brian Scartocci sang the song for his daughter during the Blind Auditions for Season 3 of NBC's The Voice. Freddy Cole also recorded a version in 1978.

Chart history[edit]

Artist UK Billboard
Singles Chart Hot 100 AC
Stevie Wonder 94[9] 23[2]
David Parton 4[3]
Jimmy Higham & Jon Walmsley 41[8]

References[edit]


External links[edit]