The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum


back to profile

Stevie Wonder accepts his induction

"Thank you all very much.  These are my two children Aisha and Keita.  You take one more picture, I'm gonna break that camera. I would like for everyone to - if you can for one moment - stop even with your pictures, please, thank you.  [Takes off sunglasses.]  I would like for everyone to, for one moment, close your eyes as I take you through an experience of my life.  My experience.  The experience of hearing the sounds of many different voices from many different cultures throughout the world.  Hearing the music of Tsakiaki, hearing the voice - hearing the voice of, 'Hey, hey, you, you, get off of my cloud.'  Hearing the sounds of, 'If I Could Only Touch the Hem of His Garment.'  Hearing the many voices that we have talked about being inductees tonight, as well as many great people as we have experienced throughout our lifetime.  And as we think about all those sounds and voices that we have heard tonight, and those that we know as very famous rock and roll stars, jazz musicians, classical musicians, gospel singers, country-western singers and musicians, so forth and so on.  And we hear the voices of people of many different colors and cultures.  But through the eyes of our ears, we see the beauty of hope; we see the beauty of pain; we see the beauty of sorrow, because through all of those, through even the pain and sorrow, the hurt, the poverty, the war, the destruction - we see the beauty of the god within us that says, that voice, that instrument, sounds so wonderful - that spirit is so beautiful.  Why?  Why should they suffer?
 . . . And when we think about all that with our eyes closed, we think about all the sounds we hear.  When we see the sounds of a baby crying, a baby laughing.  When we see the sounds of someone saying 'I love you.'  When we see the sounds of someone saying, 'Imagine.'  When I remember the sound of someone who is only expressive in their voice, and saying, 'I can't turn you loose.'  When we hear the sound of a voice saying, 'What's going on?' When we hear somebody singing about 'Pretty Woman.'  When we hear the sound of a man saying, 'Black men, white men, Jews and gentiles.'  When we hear all those sounds together, we hear the many artists that have come together to create the essence of something that might feed millions of people, or the voices of those who come together to help many farmers.  In the laughter of the many comedians that came together; in the voices of those that came together to help to find the cure for AIDS.  When we hear those voices, we say, 'Dear God - let us sing forever.  Let us play forever.  Let us know that being inducted into this, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is our commitment to forever, until we die, give as much as we can.  Thank you."