Happy birthday Stevie Wonder!
Stevie Wonder (born May 13, 1950) is an American soul and pop musician and composer. He was a child prodigy who quickly became one of the most beloved faces of Motown. He has recorded more than 30 top ten U.S. hits, with some of his most notable tracks including "Superstition," "I Just Called to Say I Love You," and "Ebony and Ivory." Wonder received the Second Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song in 2009.
Born Stevland Hardaway Judkins to Calvin Judkins and Lula Mae Hardaway in Saginaw, Michigan. His blindness is due to being born six weeks early and then being given too much oxygen in the incubator after he was born. Wonder's mother moved him and his siblings to Detroit when he was four, leaving his father. Wonder joined a church choir in Detroit, and soon picked up a variety of instruments, exhibiting an innate talent for music.
By the time Wonder was 11, Ronnie White of the Motown band The Miracles had discovered Wonder, and convinced Motown CEO Barry Gordy Jr. to come and hear Wonder. After hearing him, Gordy signed Wonder immediately. The following year, Wonder released his first album, Little Stevie Wonder the 12 Year Old Genius (1962). Even though the album was a hit, went on studying music and trying to improve. In 1964, he dropped the "little" from his name and released the single "Uptight (Everything's Alright)," which also saw popularity.
His following recordings failed to get much attention. He decided to let his contract with Motown expire, but ended up resigning with them after producing two albums on his own on the condition that the company give him almost complete control over his recordings. By this time, he had begun to write much of his own music.
The following decade saw Wonder come into his own as a musician and a composer, with his albums becoming artistically and thematically cohesive. In 1972, he released Talking Book, featuring the hit single "Superstition," which reached no. 1 on the charts. Four others of that period also reached the no. 1 spot: "You Are the Sunshine of My Life",
"You Haven't Done Nothin'" (which criticizing then-president Richard Nixon),
and "Sir Duke" (a tribute to Duke Ellington).
That decade, Wonder also won a total of 15 Grammy awards.
In 1980, he released Hotter Than July, including the single "Happy Birthday," which became an important part of Wonder's campaign to establish Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday as a national holiday. The album became Wonder's first platinum-selling single album.
The 1980s were less prolific for Wonder, but he remained a potent force. In 1982, he teamed up with Paul McCartney to release "Ebony and Ivory," which reached no. 1. In 1984, Wonder released the soundtrack album for The Woman in Red, which featured "I Just Called to Say I Love You." The song was a no. 1 pop and R&B hit in both the United States and the United Kingdom.
In 1989, Wonder was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
In the last two decades, wonder has released a select number of recordings, but has become an American icon. He continues to make high-profile appearances and performances. In 2009, he was recognized with the Second Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. He has received 25 Grammy awards, including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement award.
- Birthday Date: Tuesday, 13 May 2014