Letter: Stevie Wonder's showdown with Radio 1

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The Independent Online
Sir: David Lister's article "No Wonder DJ is flustered as superstar plays hard to get" (10 March) leaves a detrimental impression of Stevie Wonder's behaviour at his performance for Radio 1. Radio 1 had, in fact, invited Stevie Wonder to be interviewed and asked if he would sit at the piano in front of an invited audience. It was agreed to do the interview in this fashion but it was made very clear that he would play only the songs, or parts of songs, that he felt would be appropriate, and that they would be his choice.

Radio 1 proceeded to bill this interview as Stevie Wonder "in concert". The day before the interview, on arrival in London, I heard an announcement to this effect on the Simon Mayo show and immediately contacted Polydor Records, through which the arrangements had been made, to tell them that Stevie had agreed to do an interview, not a concert. Discussions took place with the show's producer and he tried to stipulate that Stevie should perform certain songs of Radio 1's choice or the show would be cancelled. He was informed that Stevie would only do the show on the original terms.

On the morning of the show, the producer came to Stevie immediately before the show and asked if he would perform some songs from the new album. Stevie told him that he did not want to play those songs with just piano and vocal, as they were not yet known to the public. The producer said that he was happy with it but then, within two minutes of the start of the interview, Simon Mayo tried to embarrass Stevie into playing the songs by asking him "on air" to play them, and the exchange to which your article referred ensued.

Yours faithfully,

KEITH HARRIS

Paris

13 March

The writer handles public relations for Stevie Wonder.

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