Stevie Wonder is a legendary American, songwriter, singer, musician, and record producer was born on the 13th of May, 1950. Wonder is hailed as a trailblazer and the artist with a great impact on artists across various genres ranging from funk to soul, soul, jazz, r&b, and even gospel.
In his day, he was what you’d essentially call a one-person band; he singlehandedly shaped the way r&b was perceived and meant to be made. Wonder did this with by using edgy instruments such as synthesizers and other electronic-based musical instruments in the seventies. He would also become the artiste who made it okay for r&b artistes to make full albums with well-crafted thematic and socially aware messages.
Stevie Wonder is also credited with the need for the artiste in the r&b genre to delve into more cohesive, consistent, socially conscious statements with, of course, complex compositions and instrumentals. He is in short of a genius, and he never stopped trying to outdo himself, and might I add, without breaking a sweat.
The man, the legend, Stevie Wonder, has blessed the world with numerous songs, and a lot of them have every right to be on a top twenty list for all time. But if we did include all the pieces, we’d never stop. So here you go, these are my top twenty best Stevie Wonder songs, and I’m sure, after a listen, they’ll be yours too.
Best Stevie Wonder Songs:
Among the best Stevie Wonder songs is “superstition,” whose lyrics come packed with popular superstitions and inherent adverse effects.
“Superstition” is a single off Stevie Wonder’s fifteenth studio album, “Talking Book.” It became his second number-one single in his musical career, genuinely cementing its place as one of his best-ever songs.
The song also attained impressive numbers on the UK single’s chart, peaking at number eleven. It is also ranked top ten on the rolling stone’s greatest songs of all time. Superstition would also earn him two Grammy awards as well.
2. Boogie on Reggae Woman
“Boogie on Reggae Woman” is a 1974 single from the album Fullfilness First Finale under Motown Records and the best Stevie Wonder songs. It is a funk song, which is the usual style, and this time, it featured his distinct harmonica sound in the background
with the harmonica; he did something remarkable. The lyrics of the song switch between naughty and friendly, and each time he drifted into his harmonica break, it ushered the dialogue along.
It is truly a masterpiece, earning him the Grammy award for best RnB vocal performance, male category. The song reached #3 on the single’s chart, continuing his tradition of always having songs in the top ten.
3. I Believe “When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever”
Stevie wonder made magical music, no doubt about that, but “I believe” was so perfectly constructed, you were sucked into a world of pure unadulterated soul, making it one of the best Stevie Wonder songs.
“I believe” would go on to become chosen as the soundtrack for the 2000 crime-drama High Fidelity. This is, of course, a testament to just how good the song was and how much raw talent Stevie Wonder incorporated into the music and its lyrics.
A unique trait of his work was the fusion of soul and funk rock, which was mind-blowing and innovative. This sound is evident in this song.
“Overjoyed” is undoubtedly one of the best Stevie Wonder songs, a hit single, and just one of his many number one songs. It is a song from the 1985 album In Square Circle but originally meant for Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants, but he opted to leave it out instead.
It presents listeners with a novel auditory experience; this experience was the brainchild of wonder’s genius. What is it? Environmental percussion, or at least that was what he called it. It consisted of crickets, nightingale & additional bird sounds, ocean, pebbles in a pond, a stone dropped, crushing leaves. All of which helped to amplify the beauty of the sounds.
5. I Just Called to Say I Love You
Of all the songs on this list, this might be the best Stevie wonder song ever made. It is a personal favorite, and if you don’t see how, a listen will convince you otherwise.
It is a ballad that showed Wonder’s immense talent as a singer, songwriter, and producer. It is, till this day, his most significant international song and biggest song, period. Upon its release, it charted in nineteen different countries and topped them as well.
The song’s message is clear; he’s calling, on no extraordinary day, to tell a loved one that he loves them, urging us to never wait for special days before we do the same.
6. I Wish
“I Wish” earns its spot among the best Stevie wonder songs for good reasons all-around. It is a single from his eighteenth album, Songs in The Key of Life.
It tells a soulful tale of his childhood and how he wishes he could go back and relive it all. The message is subtle regret for not appreciating certain phases in our lives when we experience them.
“I wish” would go on to win the Grammy award for the best r&b vocal performance.
7. Sir Duke
Undoubtedly, Stevie Wonder’s childhood contained a lot of rich musical influence to turn out the musical genius he became. “Sir Duke” is one of the best Stevie Wonder songs because it is a tribute to the man who had greatly inspired Duke Ellington as a musical.
Consider it an ode to Duke, and as every poem, it had a lot of heart in it, showing just how deep the connection they shared was. Stevie Wonder, however, didn’t limit the praise to one influence as he also mentioned two other idols who had passed, the same as Duke. The song topped several charts and enjoyed a lot of success.
8. I Was Made to Love Her
This song was and remained a very special one to Stevie Wonder. It is probably one of if not the best Stevie wonder songs of all time. It is unique because of the contribution of another writer, Stevie Wonder’s mother, Lula Mae Hardaway. The song touches on the issue of love, fate, and being soulmates.
Released as a single from the album of the same name in 1967 and peaked at number two on the Billboard Pop Singles Chart and number one on the Hot R&B Singles Charts in the US.
Stevie Wonder holds the song in high regard as well, mentioning in an interview that the lyrics weren’t merely a work of art; they were true and had real meaning to him.
“As” is one of those songs you don’t know the worth until you listen. “As” is one the best Stevie wonder songs, not because of its astounding performance on the charts or sales but for the pure artistic depth it holds. “As” peaked at number 36 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and Black Singles chart.
The actual worth of this song is in its lyrics. And they give the details of the story of a couple with the man announcing his undying love to his partner. The song implies that the man’s love will only end when the impossible happens, as Stevie goes on to detail physically impossible events that would warrant the love dying.
10. Living for the City
A list of the best Stevie Wonder songs is incomplete without “Living for the City.” It was a single released in 1973, and it reached number 8 on Billboard’s “hot 100” and number one on the R&B chart.
It is a rather sad story as we learn from the lyrics, detailing the struggles of a young black man in Mississippi who needed a new life and migrated to New York where he got promptly framed for a crime he knew nothing about; he got convicted and sentenced.
It is one of the greatest soul songs because it is one of the first with such a strong political message.
11. Sunshine Of My Life
“Sunshine Of My Life” is an excellent addition to the best Stevie wonder songs simply because of its sheer artistic quality. It quickly rose to become his third number-one single after its release, also earning wonder a Grammy for “Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.”
It is yet another song showcasing just how good Stevie Wonder is with using musical instruments, which he doesn’t spare on this song, showering it bountifully with horns even. “Sunshine Of My Life” is from the Talking Book album and would go on to stay number on the R&B charts for an impressive three weeks.
12. Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours
Sound familiar? I bet it does, you have probably hummed its tune once or twice without knowing, so you must see how it finds its place on the list of best Stevie Wonder songs.
“Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” is a soul song, released in June 1970 as a single on Motown’s Tamla label. It actually spent six weeks at #1 on the U.S. R&B chart and reached #3 on the U.S. Pop chart.
It is actually off the album of the same name, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.”
13. Isn’t She Lovely
Like many artists, Stevie Wonder uses his art to express his genuine emotions, and for this song, he chose to express joy from the birth of his daughter.
“Isn’t she lovely” is over six minutes long and far exceeded the normal seven-minute, 47rpm limit that was the norm for singles. Wonder’s label, Motown, initially didn’t want to be released, but after a heaping of pressure, they gave in to pressure and submitted an edited version to radios. The 3:26 minute song surpassed the label’s expectation and Wonder, reaching 23 in the Adult Contemporary charts in January 1977.
14. You Haven’t Done Nothing
For this song, Stevie goes all in and throws everything at it, even the kitchen sink. In one of the best Stevie Wonder songs, he enlists background vocals from the famous Jackson Five group, making it a soulful, funky tune.
“You Haven’t Done Nothing” is yet another of his politically charged soul-funk songs that quickly cement themselves on the hearts and the charts. “You Haven’t Done Nothing” reached number one in the US and Canada. It also spent considerable time on the UK single’s chart, peaking at number 30.
15. If You Really Love Me
Stevie Wonder enlisted the help of the very gifted Syreeta Wright to write “If You Really Love Me.” It is a single from his 1971 album “Where I’m Coming From” and peaked at number eight on the billboard hot 100, number four on the Billboard R&B chart, and number four on the Easy Listening charts.
It is the last song to feature Motown’s band, The Funk Brothers, usually the background band. Wonder also left the studio to move to New York, where he did most of the production work himself, including playing a host of instruments.
16. My Cherie Amour
“My Cherie Amour” is genuinely one of the best Stevie Wonder songs because of the work, or lack thereof, that went into it and how it still came out great. This one is a blitz masterpiece, written in just under an hour by Stevie Wonder.
The song would be ranked number 32 on the chart for pieces of the year in 1969.
It was initially titled “Oh my Marsha(Marcia) but got changed to the new name bearing two different languages, in a bid to emulate the Beatles and their song “Michelle.”
17. Higher Ground
“Higher Ground” is a “funk” song by Stevie Wonder. It first appeared on his 1973 album Innervisions. The song peaked reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 1 on the US Hot R&B Singles chart.
This song was also a product of a quick-fire approach. Having a burst of creativity in May 1973, Stevie Wonder has written and recorded the song in three hours.
The version on the album contains an extra verse and so is 30 seconds longer than the original version.
18. Send One Your Love
Stevie Wonder wrote “Send One Your Love” in 1979 as part of his album, Stevie Wonder’s Journey Through “The Secret Life of Plants.” It is a soul song released under the Motown record label.
The song was the album’s lead single; it peaked at number four on the US Billboard pop singles chart in 1979. The song would also earn Stevie Wonder his second adult contemporary chart-topping single after “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” in 1973, topping the chart for four straight weeks.
“Send One Your Love” also went to number five on the soul charts.
19. Don’t You Worry ’bout a Thing
Stevie Wonder wrote “Don’t You Worry About a Thing” as a part of the Innervisions album of 1973. The song peaked reached #16 on “Pop Singles” Billboard chart, number #10 on Cash Box’s chart, and number #2 on the Singles R&B chart.
This song promotes positivity using its cheerful and playful lyrics, making it a message of hope for anyone feeling lost or stuck in a wrong spot. It is the first time Stevie Wonder experiments and adds a little flavor to his regular soul genre; however, this decision turned out to be great.
20. Love’s in Need of Love Today
And finally, last but not least, on our list of best Stevie wonder songs, we find the music that urges humanity to take love more seriously. Wonder insists that hate will only bring destruction and that if we wish to heal the world, we must all love.
“Love’s in Need of Love Today” means you need to feed the love for it to grow, and you can only provide love with love.
Stevie Wonder’s discography is the stuff of legends, ranging from chart toppers to grammy award garnering ones even. I have had the rare honor and pleasure to pick the all-time best Stevie Wonder songs from that vast storehouse.
Think of it as an elite playlist, a collection of the best of the best handpicked just for you. Stevie Wonder’s music has gone on to inspire a lot of artists and groups alike, bleeding through the musical generation and giving it life as it flowed. You have bands and artists paying tribute by making covers of his music.
His musical genius was unprecedented and set him apart from anyone in his generation and, frankly, anyone else ever.