7 things you should know about the legendary King Sunny Ade, as he turns 70

King Sunny Ade

The country is suffering a major setback and everyone has been hit. But if there’s any way to know those who have been hard at work and raking in truly hard earned cash when they declare that they will be having a 3-month-long birthday celebration. Only the great KSA.

Yesterday was the legendary singer, instrumentalist, and performer’s birthday and he has already got birthday wishes from the most notable people. As our own gift, we are casting a spotlight on the man who is no stranger to them.

King Sunny Ade
Do you believe this man is 70?

If (for reasons that will probably not hold water) you did not know who King Sunny Ade was, you are about to. Here are 7 things you should know about the legendary King Sunny Ade.

He was born Sunday Adeniyi in Ondo started on (you guessed it) September 22nd 1946.

Funny story. King Sunny Ade left Ondo for under the pretense that he was being enrolled at the University of Lagos in order to launch his musical career in Lagos. In Lagos, he began his career with Baba Sala‘s high life band, Federal Rhythm Dandies.

His first album was Juju Music, released in 1982

King Sunny Ade and his African Beats released Juju Music in 1982 to critical and commercial success. Juju music was his international debut as a musician and according to Robert Palmer of The New York Times, it was the year’s “freshest dance music album”. It was also peaked at #111 on Billboard’s Pop Albums chart.

On October 14, 1982, Rolling Stone’s Chip Stern reviewed the album and gave it four out of five stars. So successful was the album that it was recommended by AllMusic as the first album anyone curious about Afro pop music should listen to.

Wait for me

The hit song that he did with Onyeka Onwenu was according to him, done “to guide kids against unwanted pregnancy, if i remember very well it was organised by Hopskins University of America. So we recorded the song as call and response. He described the rumours that the song generated linking him romantically with the songstress as “pure gimmick …that made the song big”.

The song was written by Onyeka Onwenu but performed by both artistes.

He has been nominated twice for a Grammy Award


First in 1983 with Syncro System and then in 1987 with Odu.

First Nigerian to collaborate with Stevie Wonder!

In 1984, King Sunny Ade featured the legendary Stevie Wonder on his album, Aura. Stevie plays the harmonica on his title track opener, Ase.

He’s been embroiled in a legal battle with his old label, African Songs, since the 70s.

King Sunny Ade had instituted an action against the label in the 70s which the latter one. But last year, in a separate action for the repossession of some of his master tapes from the label, a court in Lagos ruled in KSA’s favour and awarded costs of NGN 500million. The said ruling is currently being appealed at the Court of Appeal.

His instruments and costumes are preserved in museums

This makes him one of the few who already have legacies preserved in their lifetime. King Sunny Ade’s musical instruments and costumes are currently on display in the United States at the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) in Phoenix, Arizona. His instruments and costumes are being preserved alongside those of other great artistes like John Lenon, and Taylor Swift.

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