Stevie Wonder took a stab at his own Top Ten list during an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman Wednesday night, rattling off an impromptu catalog of the best advantages of being blind.
Grinning at the sound of his own official Top Ten drumroll, Wonder offered up a handful of cheeky benefits unique to the sightless including, “You can act like you don’t see nothing when you really do” and “You can say you didn’t see that when you did.”
Letterman ultimately allowed Wonder to skip numbers seven through two and head straight to one, which the musician made count: “You can act like Stevie Wonder and it pays.”
Wonder also chatted about his current Songs in the Key of Life tour which finds him recreating his legendary 1976 album in its entirety. The musician spoke of the personal importance of those songs — specifically “As,” which was his mother’s favorite — but also how stories from fans about their relationship with those tracks have become a part of their history as much as the writing and recording.
To that end, Letterman recalled one of earliest musical memories: Hearing Little Stevie Wonder’s “Fingertips Part 2” while riding in the car with his parents. Wonder spoke about those early performances, especially getting chastised by his music director, Clarence Paul, for throwing his glasses and bow tie into the audience. “He said, ‘Man you crazy — why you throwing those ties away, you know that costs money! The song’s not a hit yet!”‘
At Letterman’s request, Wonder even delivered a brief performance of “Fingertips Part 2,” breaking out a “magical microphone” that once again turned him into Little Stevie Wonder. With help from Paul Shaffer and the CBS Orchestra, Wonder — sounding like he’d just inhaled helium — got the crowd going and then wailed wildly on his harmonica like it was 1963 all over again.