Which is YOUR Favorite
Stevie Wonder Song?
Stevie Wonder has undoubtedly been one of the most beloved and popular music figures in R&B and popular music over the past four decades.
Despite being blind from the time he was an infant he was an accomplished piano player, drummer and harmonica player by the time he was nine years old.
His inextinguishable positive outlook on life led him to embark on an incredible career as a singer/songwriter/producer, and multi-instrumentalist!
Stevie Wonder is a musical genius who has received 22 Grammy Awards and written over thirty Top 10 hits. In 1989, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Mr. Wonder was born Stevland Hardaway Judkins
in Saginaw, Michigan to Lula Mae Hardaway on May 13, 1950. He changed his name to Stevland Hardaway Morris
after his mother later remarried.
Having been born prematurely, he was placed in an incubator and was said to have received too much oxygen, which eventually caused his blindness.
His mother, Mrs. Hardaway was determined to provide a normal and well-balanced childhood for Stevland, and encouraged her son’s budding talent in music.
After moving to Detroit, Stevland was enrolled at the Michigan School for the Blind in Lansing, Michigan where he received an education in classical piano.
, 11-year old Stevland had already blossomed into a terrific singer and musician while performing in his church choir. In addition to the piano, Stevland also learned how to play the congas, harmonica and drums
He was soon discovered by Ronnie White from the popular Motown group “The Miracles”, and would inevitably meet Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown Records. Gordy quickly singed Stevland to the Motown label as “Little Stevie Wonder”.
Stevie’s Classic period, 1972 – 1976
It’s not very often that a musician cranks out five
unbelievably brilliant and historic albums one after the other all within a four-year period of time! Stevie Wonder was absolutely on fire
during the early to mid 1970’s releasing the best masterpieces of his career.
After some very important bargaining with his record label (Motown) for some much needed creative freedom, Stevie Wonder released “Talking Book” in October of 1972.
Amazingly, he’d just released “Music of My Mind” earlier that year in March of 1972. But it was “Talking Book” that gave the world the gift of pure classic music.
“Superstition” was a # 1 Pop and R&B hit in 1972 featuring an ultra-cool clavinet sound, a funky horn section, and a rock’n drumbeat.
This song was originally written for rock guitarist Jeff Beck, who incidentally, does an incredible guitar solo on another wonderful track on this album “Lookin' For Another Pure Love”.
Another # 1 hit off the Talking Book LP was the opening track, "You Are the Sunshine of My Life," which has been a classic love song ever since its’ release.
In fact every
song on this album is a masterpiece! You can literally listen to this entire LP from start to finish and still want to play it again. Stevie Wonder’s Talking Book album won him three Grammy Awards.
In August of 1973, Stevie Wonder released Innervisions, which many call his best album. Driving songs like “Higher Ground” and “Living for the City” made strong political statements about that particular time period, while at the same time being extremely funky.
The track “Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing” is just a fun, upbeat song with a Latin Samba groove (I just loved hearing Stevie trying to talk “Spanglish” at the beginning of the track).
And of course, “All in Love is Fair” is another classic Stevie Wonder song about the perils of love. The “Innervisions” album also won Stevie another three Grammy Awards, including the “Album of the Year” award.
The “Innervisions” album also won Stevie another three Grammy Awards, including the “Album of the Year” award.
Unfortunately, just days after he released Innervisions, Stevie Wonder was in a terrible car accident while on tour. A log from a truck came crashing through his car window and hit him in the head. He was in a coma for four days and permanently lost his sense of smell as a result.
Stevie would eventually recover and appear in concert at Madison Square Garden in New York in March 1974
. Later that year he released “Fulfillingness' First Finale” in July 1974, which contained the fuzzy synthesizer funk of “Boogie On Reggae Woman”. This album also won him a Grammy.
On October 5, 1975
, Stevie Wonder performed in Kingston, Jamaica with Bob Marley, and the "Wailers". This concert was to benefit the Jamaican Institute for the Blind.
I believe the pinnacle of Stevie’s career came on September 1976, when he released Songs in the Key of Life. This double album is filled with 21 of the most mind-blowing and creative tracks you’ll probably ever hear! Each song is unique in its’ own way, and they each tell a very different story.
“I Wish” is an absolute smash with its’ driving bass line and funky horn section. “Sir Duke” is a tribute to the late Duke Ellington who had previously passed away just two years earlier in 1974, and is probably one of the most unique songs I’ve ever heard.
Here’s Stevie performing “Sir Duke” and “I Wish” Live in Japan ... this is great stuff!
“Village Ghetto Land” is both socially conscious and playfully original as Stevie uses a dramatic symphony of strings to portray the harsh conditions in some American inner cities. And as simple as the title of the song “As”
is, it’s an incredible song of over seven minutes of pure Stevie Wonder gold!
However, his 1979
release “Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants”, had many critics and fans scratching their heads. This 20-track album was a sharp contrast from anything Stevie had ever done before, consisting mainly of instrumental scores.
Despite the low number of pop songs on the album, “Send One Your Love
”, turned out to be one of the smoothest
R&B hits Stevie Wonder ever wrote!
Stevie ushered in the 1980’s with what many felt was his “comeback album” Hotter than July which featured Tributes to Martin Luther King with “Happy Birthday” and Bob Marley with “Master Blaster”.
This album once again demonstrated how versatile a musician Stevie Wonder is with Reggae, Funk, and classic R&B tracks like “All I Do”.
Stevie’s 1982 release, Original Musiquarium I, was mainly a collection of 12 previously recorded hits and four incredible new songs, two of which are “That Girl” and “Ribbon in the Sky”.
"Just because a man lacks the use of his eyes
In 1984, Motown Celebrated its’ 25th Anniversary Special, which was entitled: Motown 25 - Yesterday, Today, Forever
This is the performance where Michael Jackson performed “Billy Jean” and introduces the “Moonwalk” to the world for the first time. But Stevie also had his moment to shine with a classic performance and an emotional and thankful speech to Motown and his fans.
Motown 25 was a very special television event back in 1983. Produced by Suzanne de Passe and Berry Gordy. Along with Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson were other Motown heavy weights such as The Temptations, The Four Tops, Marvin Gaye and a short appearance by Diana Ross & the Supremes.
doesn't mean he lacks vision."
"Sometimes, I feel I am really blessed to be blind because
I probably would not last a minute if I were able to see things."
"Eyes lie if you ever look into them for the character of the person."
"We all have ability. The difference is how we use it."
- Stevie Wonder
Here’s the Current Official Website of Stevie Wonder:
To read more about Stevie’s life and see loads
of vintage photos, check these two sites out:
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