egendary American Musician, singer songwriter, recorded producer and multi instrumentalist Stevie Wonder (Stevland Hardaway Morris was born May 13, 1950 in Saginaw, Michigan. He was born six weeks premature, which, along with the oxygen-rich atmosphere in the hospital incubator, resulted in retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), a condition in which the growth of the eyes is aborted and causes the retinas to detach; so he became blind. When Stevie Wonder was four, his mother left his father and moved to Detroit with her children. She later changed her son’s surname to Morris, partly because of relatives. Wonder has retained Morris as his legal surname. Wonder began playing instruments at an early age, including piano, harmonica, drums and bass. He formed a singing partnership with a friend; calling themselves Stevie and John, they played on street corners, and occasionally at parties and dances. A child prodigy, he has become one of the most creative and loved musical performers of the late 20th century.Wonder signed with Motown’s Tamla label at the age of eleven In 1961, and sang his own composition, “Lonely Boy”, to Ronnie White of the Miracles; White then took Wonder and his mother to an audition at Motown, where CEO Berry Gordy signed Wonder to Motown’s Tamla label. Before signing, producer Clarence Paul gave him the name Little Stevie Wonder.Because of Wonder’s age, the label drew up a rolling five-year contract in which royalties would be held in trust until Wonder was 21; until that time, Wonder and his mother would be paid a weekly stipend to cover their expenses – Wonder received $2.50 a week, and a private tutor was provided for when Wonder was on tour. Wonder worked with producer and song-writer Clarence Paul, on two albums; Tribute to Uncle Ray, which was mainly covers of Ray Charles’s songs, it included a Wonder and Paul composition, “Sunset”; The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie was recorded next, an instrumental album consisting mainly of Paul’s compositions, however Wonder co wrote “Wondering” and “Session Number 112”,the song “Mother Thank You”, was recorded but replaced by the Berry Gordy song “I Call It Pretty Music. Wonder’s debut single “But the Old People Call It the Blues” was released summer 1962 followed by, “Little Water Boy”, At the end of 1962, he joined the Motortown Revue, touring the “chitlin’ circuit” – theatres across America that accepted black artists. At the Regal Theater, Chicago his 20-minute performance was recorded and released as the album Recorded Live: The 12 Year Old Genius. A single, “Fingertips”, was also released and became a major hit on the Billboard Hot 100 when Wonder was aged 13, making him the youngest ever artist to top the chart. During 1964, Wonder appeared in two films as himself, Muscle Beach Party and Bikini Beach. Sylvia Moy and Wonder collaborated to create the hit “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)”, and Wonder went on to have a number of other hits during the mid-1960s, including “With a Child’s Heart”, and “Blowin’ in the Wind”, He also began to work in the Motown songwriting department, composing songs both for himself and his label mates, including “Tears of a Clown”, a number one hit for Smokey Robinson & the Miracles. He had several hits between 1968 and 1970 such as “I Was Made to Love Her”; “For Once in My Life” and “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours”.
In September 1970, at the age of 20, Wonder married Syreeta Wright, a songwriter and former Motown secretary. Wright and Wonder worked together on the next album, Where I’m Coming From; Wonder writing the music, and Wright helping with the lyrics. The album was released at around the same time as Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On. In 1970, Wonder co-wrote, and played numerous instruments on the hit “It’s a Shame” for fellow Motown act the Spinners. His contribution was meant to be a showcase of his talent and thus a weapon in his ongoing negotiations with Gordy about creative autonomy. Wonder independently recorded two albums and signed a contract with Motown Records. In March 1972 Wonder released the album Music of My Mind. His next album talking Book, Released in late 1972, and featured the No. 1 hits “Superstition” and “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” which also won three Grammy Awards. Wonder also began touring with the Rolling Stones to alleviate the negative effects from pigeonholing as a result of being an R&B artist in America. The next album. Innervisions, was released in 1973, featured “Higher Ground”,”Living for the City”,”Golden Lady” and “All in Love Is Fair”. Innervisions won three more Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year. The album is ranked No. 23 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. On August 6, 1973, Wonder was in a serious automobile accident while on tour in North Carolina, leaving him in a coma for four days and resulted in a partial loss of his sense of smell and a temporary loss of sense of taste. Despite the setback, Wonder re-appeared in concert at Madison Square Garden in March 1974, followed by the album First Finale in July 1974 containing the hits You Haven’t Done Nothin'” and “Boogie On Reggae Woman”. first Finale won three Grammy’s including The Album of the Year.The same year Wonder took part in a Los Angeles jam session ” A Toot and a Snore” in 1975, Wonder performed at the historic “Wonder Dream Concert” in Kingston, Jamaica, a benefit for the Jamaican Institute for the Blind. By 1975, in his 25th year, Wonder had won two consecutive Grammy Awards: in 1974 for Innervisions and in 1975 for Fulfillingness’ First Finale. In 1975, he played harmonica on two tracks on Billy Preston’s album It’s My Pleasure.
SONGS IN THE KEY OF LIFE http://youtu.be/bkMIjgKSIvE
Wonder’s next release was The double album-with-extra-EP Songs in the Key of Life, which was released in September 1976 and is regarded by many as Wonder’s crowning achievement and one of the most recognizable and accomplished albums in pop music history. It contained the hits “I Wish”, “Sir Duke”,”Isn’t She Lovely?” Which was written about his newborn daughter Aisha, “Love’s in Need of Love Today” and “Village Ghetto Land” Songs in the Key of Life won Album of the Year and two other Grammys, The album ranks 56th on Rolling Stone′s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. In 1979 he released the instrumental soundtrack album Stevie Wonder’s Journey Through “The Secret Life of Plants” was composed using an early music sampler, a Computer Music Melodian. Wonder also wrote and produced the dance hit “Let’s Get Serious”, performed by Jermaine Jackson and (ranked by Billboard as the No. 1 R&B single of 1980). Hotter than July (1980) became Wonder’s first platinum-selling single album, it contained the singles “Happy Birthday”,”Master Blaster (Jammin’)”, “I Ain’t Gonna Stand for It”, and “Lately”.In 1982, Wonder released a retrospective of his 1970s work with Stevie Wonder’s Original Musiquarium, which included four new songs: the ten-minute funk classic “Do I Do” (which featured Dizzy Gillespie), “That Girl”, “Front Line”, and “Ribbon in the Sky”, he also collaborated with Paul McCartney in their paean to racial harmony, “Ebony and Ivory”.
In 1983, Wonder performed the song “Stay Gold”, the theme to Francis Ford Copolla’s film The Outsiders and also preformed the soundtrack album for The Woman in Red. Containing the single, “I Just Called to Say I Love You”, which became a huge hit and went on to win an Academy award for best song in 1985. The album also featured a guest appearance by Dionne Warwick, singing the duet “It’s You”. The 1986 Albume InSquare Circle featured “Part-Time Lover”. “Go Home” and “Overjoyed”, he was also featured in Chaka Khan’s cover of Prince’s “I Feel For You”, alongside Melle Mel, playing his signature harmonica, he also played harmonica on Eurythmics’ single, “There Must Be an Angel (Playing with My Heart)” and Elton John’s “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues”.Wonder featured on the all-star charity single for African Famine Relief, “We Are the World”, and he was part of another charity single the following year (1986), the AIDS-inspired “That’s What Friends Are For”. He played harmonica on the album Dreamland Express by John Denver in the song “If Ever”. He also wrote the track “I Do Love You” for the Beach Boys’ 1985 self-titled album; and played harmonica on “Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man” on The Broadway Album by Barbra Streisand.
In 1987, Wonder sang the duet”Just Good Friends” on Michael Jackson’s Bad album. Michael Jackson also sang a duet with him entitled “Get It” on Wonder’s 1987 album Characters. After 1987’s Characters album, Wonder recorded a soundtrack album for Spike Lee’s film Jungle Fever in 1991 which included the songs “Gotta Have You” and “These Three Words” and “Feeding Off The Love of the Land”, A piano and vocal version of “Feeding Off The Love of the Land” was also released on the Nobody’s Child: Romanian Angel Appeal compilation. The albums Conversation Peace and the live album Natural Wonder were released in the 1990s.Among his other activities he played harmonica on one track for the 1994 tribute album KISS My Ass: Classic KISS Regrooved; sang at the 1996 Summer Olympics closing ceremony; collaborated in 1997 with Babyface on “How Come, How Long”, a song about domestic violence that was nominated for a Grammy award and played harmonica on Sting’s 1999 “Brand New Day”.In December 1999, Wonder announced that he was interested in pursuing an intraocular retinal prosthesis to partially restore his sight. Wonder continues to record and perform and released one album of new material, 2005’s A Time to Love. He appeared at the opening ceremony of the 2002 Winter Paralympics in Salt Lake City,the 2005 Live 8 concert in Philadelphia,the pre-game show for Super Bowl XL in 2006, the Obama Inaugural Celebration in 2009, and the opening ceremony of the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, Greece. He sang at the Michael Jackson memorial service in 2009, at Etta James’ funeral, in 2012, and a month later at Whitney Houston’s memorial service.
Wonder’s first new album in ten years, A Time to Love, was released in October 2005 containing the single, “So What the Fuss”, From the Bottom of My Heart” and a duet with India.Arie on the title track “A Time to Love”. By June 2008, Wonder was working on a new albums called The Gospel Inspired By Lula, which will deal with the various spiritual and cultural crises facing the world, and Through The Eyes Of Wonder, an album he has described as a performance piece that will reflect his experience as a blind man. Wonder was also keeping the door open for a collaboration with Tony Bennett and Quincy Jones concerning a rumored jazz album. Wonder previously collaborated with Bennett, on”For Once in My Life” which earned them a Grammy for best pop collaboration with vocals in 2006.Wonder’s harmonica playing can also be heard on the 2009 Grammy-nominated “Never Give You Up”, featuring CJ Hilton and Raphael Saadiq.
To date Wonder has recorded more than thirty U.S. top ten hits and received twenty-two Grammy Awards, the most ever awarded to a male solo artist, and has sold over 100 million albums and singles, making him one of the top 60 best-selling music artists.Wonder is also noted for his work as an activist for political causes, including his 1980 campaign to make Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday a holiday in the United States.In 2009, Wonder was named a United Nations Messenger of Peace. In 2008, Billboard magazine released a list of the Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists to celebrate the US singles chart’s 50th anniversary, with Wonder at number five. October 2013, Wonder revealed that he had been recording new material for two albums, When the World Began and Ten Billion Hearts, in collaboration with producer David Foster, to be released in 2014