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"I Just Called to Say I Love You" is a song written, produced, and performed by Stevie Wonder. The midtempo song expresses how simply telephoning someone to tell them you love them can make even a very unremarkable day rewarding. It is one of Wonder's most simplistic and sentimental songs, and, with its quintessentially mid-1980s synthesizers and drum machines, is very different from his more organic and experimental 1970s music. For those reasons it was deprecated by critics. However, it was one of Wonder's most commercially successful singles to date. On June 27th 2009, two days after the death of Wonder's friend Michael Jackson, he was at a public event, and changed the words to the song so that it said: 'Michael knows, I'm here, and I love you'. While singing, his voice cracked several times, and at the end of the song he pointed to the sky, and quietly said 'We love you Michael'.

The song was first featured in the 1984 "comedy" The Woman in Red along with two other songs by Wonder and scored number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks from October 13, 1984 and also became Wonder's first solo UKmarker number-one success, staying at the top for six weeks. It also became his tenth number-one on the R&B chart and his fourth number-one on the adult contemporary chart. In addition, the song won both a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for Best Original Song.

There is a dispute between Wonder and his former writing partner Lee Garrett over authorship rights. Garrett claims to have written the song years prior to its 1984 release. [184596]

Song structure

The song has two verses and a chorus, with each of the verses divided further into two half-verses. Each half-verse and the chorus have sixteen measures. The protagonist of the song reinforces the message of the song's title (and chorus) by negating all major special times of the year. The song concludes with a triple-chord, or cha-cha-cha, ending.

In other media

  • The song was sung by Stevie Wonder and Phylicia Rashad in The Cosby Show episode "A Touch of Wonder" in which Wonder guest starred as himself. In the episode Denise and Theo get into a car crash with Stevie and he later invites them to a recording session as a gesture of goodwill.


  • The song was ridiculed in the major motion picture High Fidelity by Jack Black's character, Barry. When a middle-aged customer requests the song, Barry calls it "sentimental tacky crap". He then goes on to ask the main character, played by John Cusack, "Rob, top five musical crimes perpetrated by Stevie Wonder in the '80s and '90s. Go. Sub-question: is it in fact unfair to criticize a formerly great artist for his latter day sins; is it better to burn out than to fade away?"
  • Martika sang this song on the first season of Kids Incorporated
  • Stevie Wonder performed this song on Extreme Makeover Home Edition on Sunday April 12, 2009. The song was sung in a private concert for the family in the music room of their new house. The lyrics were re-written by Wonder to represent the family's current situation. Instead of "I just called to say I love you," Wonder sang "I am here because he loves you." The "he" was refering to the father in the family who was in the hospital with late-stage brain cancer at the time and whose dying wish was to have Ty Pennigton rebuild his house for his wife and seven children. It was sung by "Beş Yıl Önce On Yıl Sonra" ("5 years ago 10 years later" in Turkish), who was a Turkishmarker band in their "Extra" album and "Ajda Pekkan - Beş Yıl Önce On Yıl Sonra" one in 1985 as "Bir Tek Şey" ("One Thing" in Turkish).
  • In an episode of Malcolm in the Middle an instrumental version on this song can be heard playing in the Luck Aide.
  • The song was used in Japanese TDK advertisement in 1980


Charts

Chart Peak
position
Australian ARIA Singles Chart 1
Austrian Singles Chart 1
Danish Singles Chart 6
Dutch Singles Chart 1
French Singles Chart 1
German Singles Chart 1
Irish Singles Chart 1
Italian Singles Chart 1
Norwegian Singles Chart 1
New Zealand Singles Chart 1
Swedish Singles Chart 1
Swiss Singles Chart 1
UK Singles Chart 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 1
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks 1
U.S. Billboard Hot Black Singles 1
U.S. ARC Weekly Top 40 1


References

  1. Stevie Wonder - I Just Called To Say I Love You - austriancharts.at
  2. lescharts.com - Stevie Wonder - I Just Called To Say I Love You
  3. German Singles Chart Charts-surfer.de (Retrieved April 10, 2008)
  4. Irish Single Chart Irishcharts.ie (Retrieved April 10, 2008)
  5. Italian Single Chart Hit parade Italia (Retrieved May 30, 2008)
  6. norwegiancharts.com - Stevie Wonder - I Just Called To Say I Love You
  7. swedishcharts.com - Stevie Wonder - I Just Called To Say I Love You
  8. Stevie Wonder - I Just Called To Say I Love You - hitparade.ch
  9. UK Singles Chart Chartstats.com (Retrieved April 17, 2008)
  10. Billboard Allmusic.com (Retrieved April 17, 2008)



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