In the early ’80s, Stevie Wonder launched a campaign demanding the recognition of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther Jr.’s birthday as a national holiday. Stevie composed “Happy Birthday” in honor of King and the song quickly became a hit.
King’s birthday would not become recognized as a holiday until 1986, but certainly Stevie’s efforts helped make it happen.
Here is video of Stevie Wonder performing “Happy Birthday” in Japan in 1982!