Saturday, May 19, 1973

Stevie Wonder hit #1 with “You Are the Sunshine of My Life”

You Are the Sunshine of My Life

Stevie Wonder

Writer(s): Stevie Wonder (see lyrics here)

First Charted: March 16, 1973

Peak: 1 US, 1 CB, 2 GR, 1 HR, 1 AC, 3 RB, 8 CL, 7 UK, 5 CN (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 27.14 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

This song followed “Superstition,” the lead single from 1972’s Talking Book, to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 – ten years after Wonder’s first run to the top with 1963’s “Fingertips (Part 2).” It received nominations for Grammys for Record and Song of the Year and won for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. In accepting the award, Wonder said, “I would like to thank all of you for making this night the sunshine of my life.” FB

It is “a disarmingly simple love song,” JB “but of course, it’s only the composition that’s simple.” JB Its “candy-coated pop” TL could make it feel “nauseating or naively charming, or even nausteatingly charming.” SL-85 It is probably why it is also “one of the most covered (and ‘lounged’) songs ever.” SL-84

The song also showcased “a rare generosity in someone of Stevie’s star status” SL-84 in that the song’s first few vocal lines are given to Jim Gilstrap and Gloria Barley (although some accounts say it is Lani Groves). All three were backup singers for Wonder. WK The song was actually recorded during the making of Music of My Mind, Wonder’s previous album, but held back because it was “deemed unsuitiable for the mood of that album.” SL-84

There was also speculation that the song was held off for awhile since Wonder had entered into a relationship with Barley although still married to Syreeta Wright, SL-85 who’d been the inspiration for the song. FB Wright was a secretary and aspiring singer at Motown Records who married Wonder in 1970. According to some sources, the pair divorced in 1972, but Wright claimed they were married until 1975. SF


  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Stevie Wonder
  • FB Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 333.
  • JB John Bush, All Music Guide
  • SL Steve Lodder (2005). Stevie Wonder: A Musical Guide to the Classic Albums. Backbeat Books: San Francisco, CA.
  • SF Songfacts
  • TL Josh Tyrangiel and Alan Light (11/13/2006). Time Magazine “All-TIME 100 Albums
  • WK Wikipedia

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First posted 11/7/2020; last updated 12/26/2022.

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