First Hit #1: October 13, 1984
Stevie Wonder had already won all the Grammys in the ’70s, so in the ’80s it was only natural that he would win an Oscar. I Just Called to Say I Love You is that song, from the soundtrack to the forgettable Woman in Red. I will concede that I might be unfair to the film, but it’s not in print, that’s not a good sign for a lasting legacy.
Luckily, Wonder’s song isn’t really about any woman in red, instead it’s just a sweet little song about someone who feels the need to pick up the phone and be nice to his lover. It’s surprisingly open about how slight it is, offering little more than a flimsy excuse for the chorus’ existence, but that’s fine, and actually kind of the point. It expresses love by suggesting that lovers only need the flimsiest excuse to call each other and express their feelings, and that’s a sweet little sentiment. Sure, it might have been annoying for couples at the time, who were pressured into calling each other to say I love you, but as an expression of a very simple love, it works quite well.
It isn’t quite on the level of Wonder’s ’70s hits, it’s nowhere near as adventurous as he can be, but as a sweet little song it’s difficult to fault.