History Behind Stevie Wonder’s MLK Birthday Song

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“Happy Birthday” is a 1981 single written, produced, and performed by Stevie Wonder for the Motown label.  Now many of us know it as the “Black version of Happy Birthday” song at many parties around the country, but
Wonder used the song to popularize the campaign to make Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a national holiday, and continued his fight for the holiday, holding the Rally for Peace Press Conference in 1981. United States President Ronald Reagan approved the creation of the holiday, signing it into existence on November 2, 1983. The first official Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, held the third Monday in January of each year, was held on January 20, 1986, and was commemorated with a large-scale concert, where Stevie Wonder was the headlining performer.
Although the single failed to reach the Billboard Hot 100, it charted on the R&B chart, and it became one of Wonder’s biggest hits in the UK, reaching No.2 in the charts in August 1981. (wikipedia)

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