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The Smooth Late Show with Martin Collins 10pm - 1am
30 September 2020, 16:53
In a time before mobile news updates and social media, the audience at Stevie Wonder's concert on December 8, 1980, found out about the death of John Lennon from Stevie himself.
But it was such monumental news that he felt the hundreds of excited fans standing in the stalls needed to know too.
"I want you all to understand that I'm not a person who likes to be the bearer of of any bad news," Stevie began, and the audience quickly quietened to listen.
"Someone has recently been shot," he announced. "He was shot, tonight. Three times."
Looking out into the crowd, his voice cracked as revealed the victim: "I'm talking about Mr John Lennon."
A reaction of confusion, shock and sheer sadness echoed throughout the Oakland Coliseum after Stevie's revelation.
"I'm very sorry to have to tell you that, but, when I found it out... it's still very hard for me to do this show, even now."
The singer continued: "But I know that he would want me to continue to express those same feelings, as he has in his life."
After Wonder's final heartfelt sentiment about the legendary musician, the venue roared with rapturous applause and cheers from the audience.
In a later interview, Wonder revealed he wasn't shocked by the news of Lennon's death.
"Not saying that I expected for it to happen to him," he clarified. "But I expected that, in time, that kind of thing would begin to happen, unfortunately, to artists. To those that express how they feel in that form.
"I'm so very sorry," he continued. "I'm so very broken hearted that it happened.
"I think when a writer or an artist is able to express themselves through song, it really is the silent soul speaking in song."
Two and a half decades later, the tragic passing of the music legend still hits Stevie hard.
In 2015, while performing a tribute of Lennon's famous 'Imagine', Wonder couldn't help but get emotional.
Sitting in front of a keyboard as he performed to the crowd in Canada, the star shed a tear as he sang the lyrics to the peace anthem.
He was so overwhelmed that he had to spend a moment with his hands on his eyes after the music had finished, while the crowd cheered and applauded.