Stevie Wonder

Legendary 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. 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. 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. 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 Wonder co wrote “Wondering” and “Session Number 112”.Womder’s debut single was the Gordy penned “I Call It Pretty Music, followed by “But the Old People Call It the Blues” and “Little Water Boy”in 1962. he joined the Motortown Revue, touring the “chitlin’ circuit”. At the Regal Theater, Chicago his 20-minute performance was recorded and released as the album Recorded Live: The 12 Year Old Genius, which yielded the single, “Fingertips”,

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)”, Wonder also released “With a Child’s Heart”, and “Blowin’ in the Wind”. He also started writing songs for Motown including “Tears of a Clown”, for Smokey Robinson & the Miracles and 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. In 1970, Wonder worked on the song “It’s a Shame” for the Spinners. In March 1972 Wonder released the album Music of My Mind. His next album talking Book, featured the No. 1 hits “Superstition” and “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” which also won three Grammy Awards and also began touring with the Rolling Stones. Wonder’s next album. Innervisions, was released in 1973, featuring “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 and is ranked No. 23 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. In 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 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. He also 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. Wonder’s next release was The classic 1976 double album-and-EP “Songs in the Key of Life”, containing the songs “I Wish”, “Sir Duke”,”Isn’t She Lovely?”, “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” which was composed using an early music sampler, a Computer Music Melodian. Wonder also wrote and produced the dance hit “Let’s Get Serious”, for Jermaine Jackson. In 1980 Wonder released “Hotter than July” which 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 on “Ebony and Ivory”. In 1983, Wonder performed the song “Stay Gold”, the theme to Francis Ford Copolla’s film The Outsiders and also performed “I Just Called to Say I Love You”, for the Woman in Red soundtrack, which won 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. He also 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”, and played harmonica on Sting’s 1999 “Brand New Day”. 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 released the album A Time to Love, in 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”. Wonder collaborated with Tony Bennett, on”For Once in My Life” which earned them a Grammy for best pop collaboration with vocals in 2006. Wonder’s played harmonica on the 2009 Grammy-nominated “Never Give You Up”, featuring CJ Hilton and Raphael Saadiq. In 2007 Wonder did a 13-date tour of North America and started the European leg of his Wonder Summer’s Night Tour in 2008, which included eight UK gigs; four at the O2 Arena in London, two in Birmingham and two at the M.E.N. Arena in Manchester. He also performed at The Netherlands (Rotterdam), Sweden (Stockholm), Germany (Cologne, Mannheim and Munich), Norway (Hamar), France (Paris), Italy (Milan) and Denmark (Aalborg). Wonder also toured Australia (Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane) and New Zealand (Christchurch, Auckland and New Plymouth).

In 2010 he performed at Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, Tennessee, London’s “Hard Rock Calling” in Hyde Park, Glastonbury Festival, Rotterdam’s North Sea Jazz Festival, he also performed in Bergen, Norway, Dublin, Ireland and the O2 Arena in London. In 2000, Wonder contributed two new songs for Spike Lee’s Bamboozled album (“Misrepresented People” and “Some Years Ago”) and made a guest appearance on Busta Rhymes’ new album, “The Big Bang” on the track “Been through the Storm”. He appeared on Snoop Dogg’s album Tha Blue Carpet Treatment, on the song “Conversations”, which is a remake of “Have a Talk with God” from Songs in the Key of Life. In 2006, Wonder duetted with Andrea Bocelli on The song “Canzoni Stonate” and appeared on Celine Dion’s album Loved Me Back to Life performing a cover of his 1985 song “Overjoyed”. On February 23, 2009, Wonder became the second recipient of the Library of Congress’s Gershwin Prize for pop music, honored by president Barack Obama at the White House. In 2010, Wonder was appointed a Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters by French Culture Minister Francois Mitterrand. A lifetime achievement award was also given to Wonder on the same day, at France’s biggest music awards.In February 2011,

During his amazing career Wonder has recorded more than thirty U.S. top ten hits and won twenty-two Grammy Awards and a Lifetime Achievement Award. He has also won an Academy Award for Best Song, and been inducted into both the Rock and Roll and Songwriters halls of fame. He has also been awarded the Polar Music Prize. American music magazine Rolling Stone named him the ninth greatest singer of all time. In June 2009 he became the fourth artist to receive the Montreal Jazz Festival Spirit Award. He has had ten U.S. number-one hits on the pop charts as well as 20 R&B number one hits, and has sold over 100 million records. Wonder has recorded several critically acclaimed albums and hit singles, and writes and produces songs for many of his label mates and outside artists as well. Wonder plays the piano, synthesizer, harmonica, congas, drums, bass guitar, bongos, organ, melodica, and clavinet. Wonder was the first Motown artist and second African-American musician to win an Academy Award for Best Original Song, which he won for his 1984 hit single “I Just Called to Say I Love You” from the movie The Woman in Red.nHis classic 1970s albums have been very influential on the music world and he pioneered stylistic approaches that inspired pop music for the next decade”.

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