Stevie Wonder: “Superstition,” “Sir Duke” and “I Wish”

Stevie Wonder needs no introduction. His bio may not be well known by all but his most ardent fans, however. Here is how the version at Encyclopedia Britannica starts:

Stevie Wonder, original name Steveland Judkins or Steveland Morris (born May 13, 1950, Saginaw, Mich., U.S.), American singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, a child prodigy who developed into one of the most creative musical figures of the late 20th century.

Blind from birth and raised in inner-city Detroit, he was a skilled musician by age eight. Renamed Little Stevie Wonder by Berry Gordy, Jr., the president of Motown Records—to whom he was introduced by Ronnie White, a member of the Miracles—Wonder made his recording debut at age 12. The soulful quality of his high-pitched singing and the frantic harmonica playing that characterized his early recordings were evident in his first hit single, “Fingertips (Part 2),” recorded during a show at Chicago’s Regal Theatre in 1963. But Wonder was much more than a freakish prepubescent imitation of Ray Charles, as audiences discovered when he demonstrated his prowess with piano, organ, harmonica, and drums. By 1964 he was no longer described as “Little,” and two years later his fervent delivery of the pounding soul of “Uptight (Everything’s Alright),” which he also had written, suggested the emergence of both an unusually compelling performer and a composer to rival Motown’s stable of skilled songwriters. (He had already cowritten, with Smokey Robinson, “The Tears of a Clown.”) Continue Reading…

Here is one of Wonder’s sites. Above is a great version of Superstition on Sesame Street, of all places. Below is Sir Duke — a tribute to Duke Ellington and other jazz greats — and I Wish.

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4 Responses

  1. Soul of Wit

    Stevie is easily the artist I associate most with Detroit/Motown. He’s not as prolific as he once was, but 2005’s “So What the Fuss” proves that he rocks harder than ever.

    Reply
  2. Carl

    I agree. You just gave me a great idea…thanks: A list of great acts out of Detroit.

    Reply

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