♫ Sir Duke ♫ (Redux)

Tonight I am tired, I am discouraged, and I needed me some Stevie Wonder to pick me up.  I played this one in August last year, and I apologize in advance for such a soon redux, but … there just isn’t anything quite like this song to make your heart sing just a little bit.


I am told by several who have reason to know, that I don’t smile enough these days.  They are probably right, but in truth, I find little to smile about.  In the mirror, I see an old hag with a perpetual scowl and sad eyes.  However, there is one person who always brings a smile to my face, and that is Mr. Stevie Wonder!

I could have sworn I had played this one, for it is one of my favourites by Stevie, but a search of my archives found nothing.  I love this one, especially, when I am out walking, for the beat makes me pick up my speed and makes me smile at the same time, such that the people I pass wonder just what the heck I am up to with that sappy grin on my face!

Stevie Wonder wrote this song as a tribute to music, specifically to Duke Ellington, who had died in 1974. Ellington was a jazz bandleader and composer who was a big influence on Wonder.

“I knew the title from the beginning but wanted it to be about the musicians who did something for us. So soon they are forgotten. I wanted to show my appreciation. They gave us something that is supposed to be forever. That’s the basic idea of what we do and how we hook it up.”

In addition to Ellington, musicians referenced in this song are “Satchmo” Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie and Sodarisa Miller.

This wasn’t the first song Wonder wrote in tribute to one of his musical inspirations: Bye Bye World from his 1968 album Eivets Rednow is about the guitarist Wes Montgomery. Wonder’s second album, released in 1962 when he was just 12 years old, was a tribute to ‘Uncle Ray’, which paid homage to Ray Charles.

Sir Duke
Stevie Wonder

Music is a world within itself
With a language we all understand
With an equal opportunity
For all to sing, dance and clap their hands
But just because a record has a groove
Don’t make it in the groove
But you can tell right away at letter A
When the people start to move

They can feel it all over
They can feel it all over people
They can feel it all over
They can feel it all over people

Music knows it is and always will
Be one of the things that life just won’t quit
But here are some of music’s pioneers
That time will not allow us to forget
For there’s Basie, Miller, Sachmo
And the king of all Sir Duke
And with a voice like Ella’s ringing out
There’s no way the band can lose

You can feel it all over
You can feel it all over people
You can feel it all over
You can feel it all over people
You can feel it all over
You can feel it all over people
You can feel it all over
You can feel it all over people
You can feel it all over
You can feel it all over people
You can feel it all over
You can feel it all over people
You can feel it all over
You can feel it all over people
You can feel it all over

I can feel it all over-all over now people
Can’t you feel it all over
Come on let’s feel it all over people
You can feel it all over
Everybody-all over people

Songwriters: Stevie Wonder
Sir Duke lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

18 thoughts on “♫ Sir Duke ♫ (Redux)

  1. A phenomenal song, the brass is on point, rhythm groovy. I know the RHCPs covered Stevie’s Higher Ground, was also a huge influence on the band and inspired funk groove rock in the 90s. Stevie’s the man! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jill, this is a superb song on its own, so it serves well as a tribute to Duke Ellington. I love the musicians recording in the same studio.

    I saw an interview with Ringo Starr, who said he preferred to record this way, as the musicians play off each other. Starr said he liked to see the others “sweat” while they played.

    Thanks for highlighting this song. Wonder is deserving of the same kind of respect as Ellington. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

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