John Proulx
Quick Tip

Learning Focus
  • Songs
Music Style
  • R&B
Free Lessons

Get free weekly lessons, practice tips, and downloadable resources to your inbox!

Stevie Wonder’s 1972 classic hit “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” is a contagious musical celebration of life and love. In today’s Quick Tip, Play You Are the Sunshine of My Life, John Proulx demonstrates how to adopt this beloved classic for solo piano. You’ll learn:

If you’re looking to add a song to your repertoire that everyone will love, then this lesson is for you!

You Are the Sunshine of My Life: Song Facts

“You Are the Sunshine of My Life” was released in October of 1972 as the opening track on Stevie Wonder’s fifteenth studio album, Talking Book. The joyful love anthem gained massive appeal on the listening charts in 1973, rising to #1 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Adult Contemporary chart, and peaking at #3 on the R&B chart.¹ “Sunshine” also earned Wonder the 1973 Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and was nominated for Song for the Year.²

The single version of “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” was released in 1973 as the second single from Talking Book. The first single was “Superstition,” which also reached #1. Interestingly, the single version of “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” features a different mix than what appears on Talking Book. Specifically, the single version adds horns to the mix. In fact, you can compare both recordings below.

Stevie Wonder

Video Poster

Would you like to comment on this lesson?
Visit this Quick Tip on YouTube

¹ Hogan, Ed. “You Are the Sunshine of My Life Review.” AllMusic.Com, Netaktion, LLC.

² “Artist: Stevie Wonder.”, Recording Academy.

³ Breihan, Tom. “The Number Ones: Stevie Wonder’s ‘You Are the Sunshine of My Life.’”, Stereogum Media, 28 Mar. 2019.

Michael LaDisa

Michael LaDisa graduated from the University of North Texas with a major in Music Theory & Composition. He lives in Chicago where he operates a private teaching studio and performs regularly as a solo pianist. His educational work with students has been featured on WGN-TV Evening News, Fox 32 Good Day,...

View Profile

More Free Lessons

Explore 5 levels of passing chords that you can use to personalize tunes, add variety and increase harmonic expressiveness.

Discover pro insights on how to dress up Erroll Garner's "Misty" with intermediate and advanced jazz piano concepts and techniques.

Get your blues piano soloing chops in shape with Jonny's 10 top blues piano licks. This lesson is guaranteed to get you gig ready!

Looking for downloads?

Subscribe to a membership plan for full access to this Quick Tip's sheet music and backing tracks!

Start Your Free Trial

Join Us

Get instant access to this Quick Tip and other member features with a PWJ membership!

Guided Learning Tracks

View guided learning tracks for all music styles and skill levels

Progress Tracking

Complete lessons and courses as you track your learning progress

Downloadable Resources

Download Sheet Music and Backing Tracks

Community Forums

Engage with other PWJ members in our member-only community forums

Become a better piano player today. Join with the 14-Day Free Trial today!

Get Started