Stevie Wonder, who grew up with Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin and her pastor father in the days when he was known as Little Stevie, closed out her lavish funeral today with moving versions of The Lord’s Prayer and As at Detroit’s Greater Grace Temple.
Wonder’s performance was one of the highlights of a long schedule that also featured performances by Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson and Chaka Khan, among other artists.
Detroit native Wonder closed the long program by starting with a harmonica instrumental on The Lord’s Prayer before speaking. “We will have never known a Queen like this; we will have never known the joy she gave to us,” Wonder said. “The greatest gift that has been given in life itself is love. We can talk about all the things that are wrong, and there are many, but the only thing that can deliver us is love. We need to make love great again.”
Wonder was planning on collaborating on a song with Franklin before her passing, and visited her on her deathbed two days before she passed.
He said he hoped to one day collaborate with her in heaven before performing As, a cut from his album Songs in the Key of Life. Wonder was backed by a brass section and the church choir to close the ceremony.
A moment of silence ensued as the casket was removed from the sanctuary.