Artists that Changed Music: Stevie Wonder



➡️➡️Learn more about Stevie Wonder here: Stevie Wonder was born Stevland Hardway Judkinds (later Morris) in 1950, 6 weeks premature and shortly thereafter became permanently blind. “I think I’m very fortunate — I’m very happy to be blind, because I can really observe people by themselves.” 17 year-old Stevie told KRLA Beat in 1967, the words of a man much wiser than his age might indicate. But then again, Wonder had always been ahead of his time. A child prodigy, he had taught himself to play piano by the age of seven, soon after adding the organ, harmonica, and drums to his list of skills. At 11-years old, he sang for Ronnie White of the Miracles who brought the young musician to the attention of Berry Gordy, founder of Motown Records. He was quickly signed and promoted as “the eighth wonder of the world” and “little boy wonder.” Shortly thereafter, mentor and producer Clarence Paul gave him the name that would last – Stevie Wonder. The “little” nickname, however, would hang on for some time: “Now, just a minute, “This ‘Little’ stuff has got to stop,” 16-year old Wonder once teased back to Shelly Berger (head of Motown’s West Coast office), “I’ve been six feet tall for two years.” Wonder’s first major hit came as a bit of a surprise, when a live recording from an early Motortown Review (a concert tour of several Motown artists in the early sixties) performance of “Fingertips” was released as a single. Because of its length, the performance was split into two parts (“Fingertips Pt 1 & Pt 2) when released, and it was the second part, with its spontaneous and exuberant energy, hit the top of the charts. Wonder had actually left the stage during the performance, before suddenly returning to complete the song (Pt. 2), much to the surprise of the band, which was already in the midst of changing position for the next artist, Mary Wells, performance. Bass player Larry Moses can even be heard in the track shouting out “What key? What key?”. “Fingertips Pt. 2” hit the number one slot on both the pop and rhythm and blues charts. The next few years would not see the same level of chart success, as his voice changed and there seemed to be some uncertainty in determining the next course for his career. However, in 1966, Stevie Wonder (minus the “little”) re-emerged as a brilliant and formidable force with his single “Uptight (Everything is Alright)” which hit number three on the charts and kicked off a string of hits – “I Was Made to Love Her (1967), “For Once in My Life” (1968) and “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” (1970) – which would help Motown records make the transition into the next decade. ❤️My Favorite Plugins:
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