Stevie Wonder Pays Tribute to Dick Clark at American Music Awards

'I remember his love for music and love for people,' singer says

Stevie Wonder performs onstage during the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards held at Nokia Theatre L.A. in Los Angeles on November 18th, 2012.
Lester Cohen/WireImage
November 19, 2012 7:25 AM ET

Stevie Wonder paid tribute to the late Dick Clark on last night's American Music Awards with a medley of hits including "Master Blaster (Jammin')," "My Cherie Amour" and "Sir Duke."  The 40-anniversary edition of the awards show – which Clark created in 1973 – marked the first AMAs  to take place since the TV host died of a heart attack in April at 82.  

Before performing with a 15-piece band, Wonder, seated at a grand piano and donning a purple blazer, recalled meeting Clark at age 13, and performing for him his first Number One single, "Fingertips – Part 1 & 2." "I just remember his friendship, his kindness, and I remember his love for music and love for people," the singer said. Wonder also pleaded for all to band together in these divisive times. " I challenge you, you as communicators, leaders, politicians, spiritual leaders, put your love first as we musicians put our music and songs first, and unite the world. And then we can be jamming 'til the break of dawn!"

American Music Awards Crown Justin Bieber Artist of the Year

Ryan Seacrest – who in recent years hosted New Year's Rockin' Eve with Clark introduced Wonder, first offering up words of admiration for his late friend and peer.

"I was in awe of [Clark's] star quality and how completely comfortable he was in front of the camera," Seacrest said. "Even when I got to know him well and count him and his wife Carrie as friends, I never lost that sense of awe."

Seacrest said the American Music Awards was a fitting platform on which to honor Clark.

"This show, on its 40th anniversary, still reflects Dick's original vision: bringing the top artists on the planet together on an equal stage," Seacrest said. "Dick loved the power of music and its ability to create pure joy. That's why we're going to use music tonight to celebrate the joy of his life."

Clark, who is perhaps best known as the host of American Bandstand, created the American Music Awards in 1973 as an alternative to the Grammys. Unlike the Grammys, Clark's vision was for an awards show in which music buyers – that is, fans – and not industry insiders selected the winners. The AMAs is now broadcast in more than 190 countries.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories


The Commodores | 1984

The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

More Song Stories entries »