Stevie Wonder

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Template:Use mdy dates Template:Pp-semi-blp Template:Infobox musical artist Stevland Hardaway Morris (born May 13, 1950 as Stevland Hardaway Judkins),<ref name="blindfaith">Love, Dennis & Brown, Stacy. Blind Faith: The Miraculous Journey of Lula Hardaway, Stevie Wonder's Mother. Simon & Schuster, 2007. ISBN 1-4165-7785-8, ISBN 978-1-4165-7785-0. Stevie Wonder's mother's authorized biography states that his surname was legally changed to Morris when he signed with Motown in 1961.</ref> known by his stage name Stevie Wonder, is an American singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, a child prodigy who developed into one of the most creative musical figures of the late 20th century.<ref name="introtoStevie">Perone, James E. (2006). The Sound of Stevie Wonder: His Words and Music. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing. ISBN 0-275-98723-X. Pg. xi–xii</ref> Blind since shortly after birth,<ref name="incubator" /> Wonder signed with Motown's Tamla label at the age of eleven,<ref name="introtoStevie" /> and continues to perform and record for Motown to this day.

Among Wonder's best known works are singles such as "Superstition", "Sir Duke", "I Wish" and "I Just Called to Say I Love You". Well known albums also include Talking Book, Innervisions and Songs in the Key of Life.<ref name="introtoStevie" /> He 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. 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.<ref name="MLKStevie">Perone, James E. (2006). The Sound of Stevie Wonder: His Words and Music. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing. ISBN 0-275-98723-X. Pg. 83</ref> In 2009, Wonder was named a United Nations Messenger of Peace.<ref name="">Template:Cite web</ref> In 2008, Billboard magazine released a list of the Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists to celebrate the US singles chart's fiftieth anniversary, with Wonder at number five.


Early life

Stevie Wonder was born in Saginaw, Michigan, in 1950, the third of six children to Calvin Judkins and Lula Mae Hardaway. Owing to his being born six weeks premature, the blood vessels at the back of his eyes had not yet reached the front and their aborted growth caused the retinas to detach.<ref name="incubator">Template:Cite news</ref> The medical term for this condition is retinopathy of prematurity, or ROP, and it was exacerbated by the oxygen therapy given while in his hospital incubator.<ref name="Larry King interview 2010">Template:Cite web</ref>

When Stevie Wonder was four, his mother left his father and moved herself and her children to Detroit. She changed her name back to Lula Hardaway and later changed her son's surname to Morris, partly because of relatives. Morris has remained Stevie Wonder's legal surname ever since. He began playing instruments at an early age, including piano, harmonica, drums and bass. During childhood he was active in his church choir.

Discovery and early Motown recordings

Ronnie White of The Miracles gives credit to his brother Gerald White for persistently nagging him to come to his friend's house in 1961 to check out Stevie Wonder.<ref name="Werner, Craig 2004">Werner, Craig. Higher Ground. New York: Crown Publishers, 2004. Print.</ref> Afterward, White brought Wonder and his mother to Motown. Impressed by the young musician, Motown CEO Berry Gordy signed Wonder to Motown's Tamla label with the name Little Stevie Wonder.<ref name="blindfaith"/> Before signing, producer Clarence Paul gave Wonder his trademark name after stating "we can't keep calling him the eighth wonder of the world". He then recorded the regional Detroit single, "I Call It Pretty Music, But the Old People Call It the Blues", which was released on Tamla in late 1961. Wonder released his first two albums, The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie and Tribute to Uncle Ray, in 1962, to little success.

Music career

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Early success: 1963–1971

By age 13, Wonder had a major hit, "Fingertips (Pt. 2)", a 1963 single taken from a live recording of a Motor Town Revue performance, issued on the album Recorded Live: The 12 Year Old Genius. The song, featuring Wonder on vocals, bongos, and harmonica, and a young Marvin Gaye on drums, was a #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B charts, making him the youngest artist to top the former in its history and launching him into the public consciousness.

In 1964, Stevie Wonder made his film debut in Muscle Beach Party as himself, credited as "Little Stevie Wonder". He returned in the sequel released five months later, Bikini Beach. He performed on-screen in both films, singing "Happy Street," and "Happy Feelin' (Dance and Shout)," respectively.

Dropping the "Little" from his name, Wonder went on to have a number of other hits during the mid-1960s, including "Uptight (Everything's Alright)",<ref name=pc50>Template:Pop Chronicles</ref> "With a Child's Heart", and "Blowin' in the Wind", a Bob Dylan cover, co-sung by his mentor, producer Clarence Paul. 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 performed by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles.

In 1968 he recorded an album of instrumental soul/jazz tracks, mostly harmonica solos, under the pseudonym (and title) Eivets Rednow, which is "Stevie Wonder" spelled backwards. The album failed to get much attention, and its only single, a cover of "Alfie", only reached number 66 on the U.S. Pop charts and number 11 on the U.S. Adult Contemporary charts. Nonetheless, he managed to score several hits between 1968 and 1970 such as "I Was Made to Love Her";<ref name=pc50/> "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 co-wrote the songs on the next album, Where I'm Coming From, which did not succeed in the charts. Reaching his twenty-first birthday on May 13, 1971, he allowed his Motown contract to expire.<ref name="Posner p254">Posner, Gerald Motown: Music, Money, Sex and Power p.254.</ref>

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.<ref>Template:Cite album-notes</ref>

Classic period: 1972–1976

Wonder independently recorded two albums, which he used as a bargaining tool while negotiating with Motown.Template:Citation needed Eventually the label agreed to his demands for full creative control and the rights to his own songs. The 120-page contract was a precedent at Motown and gave Wonder a much higher royalty rate.<ref name="rshrr80"/> Wonder returned to Motown in March 1972 with Music of My Mind. Unlike most previous albums on Motown, which usually consisted of a collection of singles, B-sides and covers, Music of My Mind was a full-length artistic statement with songs flowing together thematically.<ref name="rshrr80"/> Wonder's lyrics dealt with social, political, and mystical themes as well as standard romantic ones, while musically Wonder began exploring overdubbing and recording most of the instrumental parts himself.<ref name="rshrr80"/> Music of My Mind marked the beginning of a long collaboration with Tonto's Expanding Head Band (Robert Margouleff and Malcolm Cecil).<ref>Tonto's Expanding Head Band. Retrieved on October 18, 2008.</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref>


Released in late 1972, Talking Book featured the No. 1 hit "Superstition",<ref name="rsrg83"/> which is one of the most distinctive and famous examples of the sound of the Hohner clavinet keyboard.<ref>The history of the Höhner Clavinet. Retrieved on October 18, 2008.</ref> The song features a rocking groove that garnered Wonder an additional audience on rock radio stations.Template:Citation needed Talking Book also featured "You Are the Sunshine of My Life", which also peaked at No. 1. During the same time as the album's release, Stevie Wonder began touring with the Rolling Stones to alleviate the negative effects from pigeon-holing as a result of being an R&B artist in America.<ref name="Werner, Craig 2004"/> Wonder's touring with The Rolling Stones was also a factor behind the success of both "Superstition" and "You Are the Sunshine of My Life".<ref name="rshrr80"/><ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Between them, the two songs won three Grammy Awards.<ref name=Grammy/> On an episode of the children's television show Sesame Street that aired in April 1973,<ref name="SesameSt">"Sesame Street" Episode #4.109 (1973) Retrieved on October 13, 2008</ref> Wonder and his band performed "Superstition", as well as an original song called "Sesame Street Song", which demonstrated his abilities with the "talk box".

Innervisions, released in 1973, featured "Higher Ground" (#4 on the pop charts) as well as the trenchant "Living for the City" (#8).<ref name="rsrg83"/> Both songs reached No. 1 on the R&B charts. Popular ballads such as "Golden Lady" and "All in Love Is Fair" were also present, in a mixture of moods that nevertheless held together as a unified whole.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> Innervisions generated three more Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year.<ref name=Grammy/> The album is ranked #23 on Rolling Stone Magazine's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.<ref name=RS500>Template:Cite web</ref> Wonder had become the most influential and acclaimed black musician of the early 1970s.<ref name="rshrr80"/>

On August 6, 1973, Wonder was in a serious automobile accident while on tour in North Carolina, when a car in which he was riding hit the back of a truck.<ref name="rshrr80">Rockwell, John, "Stevie Wonder", in Miller, Jim (ed.), The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll, Random House/Rolling Stone Press, Revised Edition, 1980, ISBN 0-394-73938-8 pp. 364–368.</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref> This left 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.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Despite the setback, Wonder re-appeared in concert at Madison Square Garden in March 1974 with a performance that highlighted both up-tempo material and long, building improvisations on mid-tempo songs such as "Living for the City".<ref name="rshrr80"/> The album Fulfillingness' First Finale appeared in July 1974 and set two hits high on the pop charts: the #1 "You Haven't Done Nothin'" and the Top Ten "Boogie On Reggae Woman". The Album of the Year was again one of three Grammys won.<ref name=Grammy/>

The same year Wonder took part in a Los Angeles jam session which would become known by the bootleg album A Toot and a Snore in '74.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref><ref>Template:Cite book </ref> He also co-wrote and produced the Syreeta Wright album Stevie Wonder Presents: Syreeta.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

On October 4, 1975, Wonder performed at the historical "Wonder Dream Concert" in Kingston, Jamaica, a benefit for the Jamaican Institute for the Blind.<ref>White, Timothy. Catch a Fire: The Life of Bob Marley. Macmillan, 2006. ISBN 0-8050-8086-4. p. 275.</ref>

By 1975, in his 25th year, Stevie Wonder had won two consecutive Grammy Awards: in 1974 for Innervisions and in 1975 for Fulfillingness' First Finale.Template:Citation needed. In 1975, he was featured on the album It's My Pleasure by Billy Preston, playing harmonica on two tracks.Template:Relevance inline

The double album-with-extra-EP Songs in the Key of Life, was released in September 1976. Sprawling in style, unlimited in ambition, and sometimes lyrically difficult to fathom, the album was hard for some listeners to assimilate, yet is regarded by many as Wonder's crowning achievement and one of the most recognizable and accomplished albums in pop music history.<ref name="rshrr80"/><ref name="rsrg83"/><ref name="acc">Template:Cite web</ref> The album became the first of an American artist to debut straight at #1 in the Billboard charts, where it remained for 14 non-consecutive weeks.<ref>Lundy, Zeth. 33Template:Frac Songs in the key of life, Continuum, 2007. ISBN 0-8264-1926-7. p. 16.</ref> Two tracks, became #1 Pop/R&B hits "I Wish" and "Sir Duke". The baby-celebratory "Isn't She Lovely?" was written about his newborn daughter Aisha, while songs such as "Love's in Need of Love Today" (which years later Wonder would perform at the post-September 11, 2001 America: A Tribute to Heroes telethon) and "Village Ghetto Land" reflected a far more pensive mood. Songs in the Key of Life won Album of the Year and two other Grammys.<ref name=Grammy/> The album ranks 56th on Rolling Stone Magazine's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.<ref name=RS500/>

After such a concentrated and sustained level of creativity, Wonder stopped recording for three years, releasing only the 3 LP Looking Back, an anthology of his first Motown period. The albums Wonder released during this period were very influential on the music world: the 1983 Rolling Stone Record Guide said they "pioneered stylistic approaches that helped to determine the shape of pop music for the next decade";<ref name="rsrg83">Template:Cite book</ref> Rolling Stone magazine's 2003 list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time included four of the five albums, with three in the top 90;<ref name=RS500/> and in 2005, Kanye West said of his own work, "I'm not trying to compete with what's out there now. I'm really trying to compete with Innervisions and Songs in the Key of Life. It sounds musically blasphemous to say something like that, but why not set that as your bar?"<ref>Jones, Steve (August 21, 2005). "West hopes to register with musical daring". USA Today.</ref>

Commercial period: 1979–1990

It was in Wonder's next phase that he began to commercially reap the rewards of his legendary classic period. The 1980s saw Wonder scoring his biggest hits and reaching an unprecedented level of fame evidenced by increased album sales, charity participation, high-profile collaborations, political impact, and television appearances.

When Wonder did return, it was with the soundtrack album Journey through the Secret Life of Plants (1979), featured in the film The Secret Life of Plants. Mostly instrumental, the album was composed using the Computer Music Melodian, an early sampler. Wonder toured briefly in support of the album, and used a Fairlight CMI sampler on stage.<ref>Template:Cite journal</ref> In this year Wonder also wrote and produced the dance hit "Let's Get Serious", performed by Jermaine Jackson and (ranked by Billboard as the #1 R&B single of 1980).

Hotter than July (1980) became Wonder's first platinum-selling single album, and its single "Happy Birthday" was a successful vehicle for his campaign to establish Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday as a national holiday. The album also included "Master Blaster (Jammin')", "I Ain't Gonna Stand for It", and the sentimental ballad, "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" (one of the year's biggest singles to chart on the R&B side), "Front Line", a narrative about a soldier in the Vietnam War that Stevie Wonder wrote and sang in the 1st person, and "Ribbon in the Sky", one of his many classic compositions. Wonder also gained a #1 hit that year in collaboration 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 Coppola's film adaptation of S.E. Hinton's novel The Outsiders. Wonder wrote the lyrics.

In 1983, Wonder scheduled an album to be entitled "People Work, Human Play." The album never surfaced and instead 1984 saw the release of Wonder's soundtrack album for The Woman in Red. The lead single, "I Just Called to Say I Love You", was a #1 pop and R&B hit in both the United States and the United Kingdom, where it was placed 13th in the list of best-selling singles in the UK published in 2002. It 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" with Stevie and a few songs of her own. The following year's In Square Circle featured the #1 pop hit "Part-Time Lover". The album also has a Top 10 Hit with "Go Home." It also featured the ballad "Overjoyed" which was originally written for Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants, but didn't make the album. He performed "Overjoyed" on Saturday Night Live when he was the host. He was also featured in Chaka Khan's cover of Prince's "I Feel For You", alongside Melle Mel, playing his signature harmonica. In roughly the same period he was also featured on 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".

By 1985, Stevie Wonder was an American icon,Template:Citation needed the subject of good-humored jokes about blindness and affectionately impersonated by Eddie Murphy on Saturday Night Live.Template:Citation needed Wonder sometimes joined in the jokes himself such as in The Motown Revue with Smokey Robinson. He was in a featured duet with Bruce Springsteen 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 also played the harmonica on the album Dreamland Express by John Denver in the song "If Ever", a song Wonder co-wrote with Stephanie Andrews. He also wrote the track "I Do Love You" for The Beach Boys' 1985 self-titled album. Stevie Wonder also played the harmonica on a track called "Can't Help Lovin' That Man" from "Showboat" on "The Broadway Album" by Barbra Streisand.

In 1986, Stevie Wonder appeared on The Cosby Show, as himself, in the episode "A Touch of Wonder".

In 1987, Wonder appeared on Michael Jackson's Bad album on the duet "Just Good Friends". Michael Jackson also sang a duet with him titled "Get It" on Wonder's 1987 album Characters. This was a minor hit single, as were "Skeletons" and "You Will Know". In the fall of 1988, Wonder duetted with Julio Iglesias on the hit single "My Love", which appeared on Iglesias' album Non Stop.Template:Citation needed

Later career: 1991–2001

After 1987's Characters LP, Wonder continued to release new material, but at a slower pace. He recorded a soundtrack album for Spike Lee's film Jungle Fever in 1991. From this album, singles and videos were released for "Gotta Have You" and "These Three Words". The B-side to the "Gotta Have You" single was "Feeding Off The Love Of The Land", which was played during the end credits of the movie Jungle Fever but was not included on the soundtrack. 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. It is rumored that "Feeding Off The Love Of The Land" was originally intended for release on Fulfillingness' First Finale Volume Two, a project that has never been confirmed as completed.

Conversation Peace and the live album Natural Wonder were also released in the 1990s. The former received its European launch at a high-profile March 1995 press conference in Paris, where Stevie mentioned how the tearing down of The Wall between East and West Berlin and the desire for a united Europe had played a significant part in the inspiration behind the album.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

In 1994, Wonder made a guest appearance on the KISS cover album KISS My Ass: Classic KISS Regrooved, playing harmonica and supplying background vocals for the song "Deuce", performed by Lenny Kravitz.

In 1996, Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life was selected as a documentary subject for the Classic Albums documentary series. This series dedicates 60 minutes to one groundbreaking record per feature. The same year, he performed John Lennon's song "Imagine" in the closing ceremony of the Atlanta Olympic Games.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> The same year, Wonder performed in a remix of "Seasons of Love" from the Jonathan Larson musical Rent.<ref>Template:Cite webTemplate:Dead link</ref>

In 1997, Wonder collaborated with Babyface for a song about abuse (domestic violence) called "How Come, How Long" which was nominated for an award.Template:Citation needed

In December 1999, Wonder announced that he was interested in pursuing an intraocular retinal prosthesis to partially restore his sight.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> That same year, Wonder was featured on harmonica in the Sting song "Brand New Day".<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

In 2000, Stevie Wonder contributed two new songs to the soundtrack for Spike Lee's Bamboozled album ("Misrepresented People" and "Some Years Ago").<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Current career: 2002–present

Template:Prose Template:Overly detailed In March 2002, Wonder performed at the opening ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Paralympics in Salt Lake City.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

On July 2, 2005, Wonder performed in the Live 8 concert in Philadelphia.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref>

Wonder's first new album in ten years, A Time to Love, was released on October 18, 2005, after having been pushed back from first a May, and then a June release. The album was released electronically on September 27, 2005, exclusively on Apple's iTunes Music Store. The first single, "So What the Fuss", was released in April. A second single, "From the Bottom of My Heart" was a hit on adult-contemporary R&B radio. The album also featured a duet with India.Arie on the title track "A Time to Love".

Wonder performed at the pre-game show for Super Bowl XL in Detroit in early 2006, singing various hit singles (with his four-year-old son on drums) and accompanying Aretha Franklin during "The Star Spangled Banner".

File:Stevie Wonder 2.jpg
Stevie Wonder at a conference in Salvador, Brazil, in July 2006

In March 2006, Wonder received new national exposure on the top-rated American Idol television program. Wonder performed "My Love Is on Fire" (from A Time To Love) live on the show itself. In June 2006, Stevie Wonder made a guest appearance on Busta Rhymes' new album, The Big Bang on the track "Been through the Storm". He sings the refrain and plays the piano on the Dr. Dre and Sha Money XL produced track. He appeared again on the last track of Snoop Dogg's new album Tha Blue Carpet Treatment, "Conversations". The song is a remake of "Have a Talk with God" from Songs in the Key of Life.

In 2006, Wonder staged a duet with Andrea Bocelli on the latter's album Amore, offering harmonica and additional vocals on "Canzoni Stonate". Stevie Wonder also performed at Washington, D.C.'s 2006 "A Capitol Fourth" celebration.

On August 2, 2007, Stevie Wonder announced the A Wonder Summer's Night 13 concert tour—his first U.S. tour in over ten years. This tour was inspired by the recent passing of his mother, as he stated at the conclusion of the tour on December 9 at the Arena in Glendale, Arizona.

File:Stevie Wonder DNC 2008.jpg
Wonder performs during the final day of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado.

On August 28, 2008, Wonder performed at the Democratic National Convention at Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado. Songs included a previously unreleased song, "Fear Can't Put Dreams to Sleep," and "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours".<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

On September 8, 2008, Wonder started the European leg of his Wonder Summer's Night Tour, the first time he had toured Europe in over a decade. His opening show was at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham. During the tour, Wonder played eight UK gigs; four at The O2 Arena in London, two in Birmingham and two at the M.E.N. Arena in Manchester. Stevie Wonder's other stops in the tour's European leg also found him performing in Holland (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 October and November.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

By June 2008, Wonder was working on two projects simultaneously: a new album titled 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 which Wonder 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.<ref>Graff, Gary (June 24, 2008). "Stevie Wonder Pressing On With New Albums".</ref> If Wonder was to join forces with Bennett, it would not be for the first time; Their rendition of "For Once in My Life" earned them a Grammy for best pop collaboration with vocals in 2006.<ref name=Grammy/> Wonder's harmonica playing can be heard on the 2009 Grammy-nominated "Never Give You Up" featuring CJ Hilton and Raphael Saadiq.<ref>Dodds, Dan (November 17, 2008) "Call me Stevie!" Raphael Saadiq talks to Soul Jones</ref>

File:Barack Obama presents Stevie Wonder with Gershwin Award 2-25-09.jpg
Wonder is presented the Gershwin Award for Lifetime Achievement by United States president Barack Obama.

Wonder performed on January 18, 2009 at the We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial. On Inauguration Day, January 20, 2009, Wonder performed the song "Brand New Day" with musician Sting. He performed his new song "All About the Love Again" and, with other musical artists, "Signed, Sealed & Delivered". 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.<ref name="Wonder receives prize">Template:Cite news</ref>

On July 7, 2009, Wonder performed "Never Dreamed You'd Leave In Summer" and "They Won't Go When I Go" at the Staples Center for Michael Jackson's memorial service.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> On October 29, 2009, Wonder performed at the 25th anniversary concert for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Among songs with B.B. King, Wonder performed Michael Jackson's 'The Way You Make Me Feel', during which he became distraught and was unable to continue until he regained his composure.

On January 22, 2010, Wonder performed Bridge Over Troubled Water for the Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief event to help victims of the earthquake in Port-au-Prince on January 12, 2010.

On March 6, 2010, Wonder was appointed a Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters by French Culture Minister Frédéric Mitterrand. Wonder had been due to be invested with this honor in 1981, but scheduling problems prevented this from happening. A lifetime achievement award was also given to Wonder on the same day, at France's biggest music awards.<ref name="Wonder lifetime achievement">Template:Cite news</ref>

His 2010 tour included a two-hour set at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, Tennessee,<ref>"Bonnaroo 2010 Schedule." Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. Superfly Productions, Feb 9, 2010. Web. Jun 20, 2010.Template:Dead link</ref> a stop at London's "Hard Rock Calling" in Hyde Park, and appearances at England's Glastonbury Festival, Rotterdam's North Sea Jazz Festival, and a concert in Bergen, Norway and a concert in Dublin, Ireland at the O2 Arena on June 24.

In February 2011, the Apollo Theater announced that Stevie Wonder will be the next in line for the Apollo Legends Hall of Fame. The theater said that the singer will be inducted into the New York City institution's Hall of Fame in five months.<ref>Allen, Floyd. "Stevie Wonder joins list of Apollo Legends Hall of Fame recipients". International Business Times AU. Retrieved: February 4, 2011.</ref>

On June 25, 2011, Wonder performed at the opening ceremony of the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, Greece.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> On January 28, 2012, Wonder and Christina Aguilera gave a musical tribute at Etta James' funeral. Wonder played "Shelter in the Rain" and The Lord's Prayer while while Aguilera sang "At Last."<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Wonder performed at the February 19, 2012 memorial service for Whitney Houston at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey. He changed some of the lyrics of his song Ribbon in the Sky in dedication to Ms. Houston.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref>

On June 4, 2012, Wonder performed at the Jubilee Concert for HM Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee celebrations at a mass open air concert outside Buckingham Palace, London.


A prominent figure in popular music during the latter half of the 20th century, Wonder has recorded more than thirty U.S. top ten hits and won twenty-two Grammy Awards<ref name=Grammy>Search for "Stevie Wonder" at</ref> (the most ever won by a solo artist) as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award. He has also won an Academy Award for Best Song,<ref name=AcademyAwards>Academy Awards Database. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved on October 11, 2008.</ref> and been inducted into both the Rock and Roll<ref name=RockHallOfFame>Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – Inductee list. Retrieved on October 11, 2008.</ref> and Songwriters<ref name=SongwritersHallOfFame>Songwriters Hall of Fame – Stevie Wonder. Retrieved on October 11, 2008.</ref> halls of fame. He has also been awarded the Polar Music Prize.<ref name=PolarMusic>Polar Music Prize Retrieved on October 11, 2008</ref> American music magazine Rolling Stone named him the ninth greatest singer of all time.<ref name=rollingstone1>Rolling Stone Magazine: The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. Retrieved July 16, 2009.</ref><ref name=rollingstone2>Rolling Stone Magazine: The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time: #9 Stevie Wonder. Retrieved July 16, 2009.</ref> In June 2009 he became the fourth artist to receive the Montreal Jazz Festival Spirit Award.<ref name=SpiritAward>Spirit Award Retrieved on July 1, 2009</ref>

He has ten U.S. number-one hits on the pop charts as well as 20 R&B number one hits, and album sales totaling more than 100 million units. 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. In his childhood, he was best known for his harmonica work, but today he is better known for his keyboard skills and vocal ability. Wonder was the first Motown artist and second African American musician to win an Academy Award for Best Original Song for his 1984 hit single "I Just Called to Say I Love You" from the movie The Woman in Red.Template:Citation needed

Classic period

Wonder's "classic period" is generally agreed to consist of the concept albums<ref>Template:Cite book</ref> he created in the early- to mid-1970s, peaking in 1976.<ref name=Allmusic2001>Template:Cite book</ref> Some observers see in 1971's Where I'm Coming From certain indications of the beginning of the classic period, such as its new funky keyboard style which Wonder used throughout the classic period.<ref name=Allmusic2001/> Some determine Wonder's first "classic" album to be 1972's Music of My Mind, on which he attained personal control of production, and on which he programmed a series of songs integrated with one another to make a concept album.<ref name=Allmusic2001/> Others skip over early 1972 and determine the beginning of the classic period to be Talking Book in late 1972,<ref>Template:Cite book</ref> the album in which Wonder "hit his stride".<ref name=Allmusic2001/>


Wonder's songs are renowned for being quite difficult to sing. He has a very developed sense of harmony and uses many extended chords utilizing extensions such as ninths, elevenths, thirteenths, diminished fifths, etc. in his compositions. Many of his melodies make abrupt, unpredictable changes. Many of his vocal melodies are also melismatic, meaning that a syllable is sung over several notes. Some of his best known and most frequently covered songs are played in keys which are more often found in jazz than in pop and rock. For example, "Superstition", "Higher Ground" and "I Wish" are in the key of E flat minor, and feature distinctive riffs in the E flat minor pentatonic scale (i.e. largely on the black notes of the keyboard).Template:Citation needed

Wonder played a large role in bringing synthesizers to the forefront of popular music. He developed many new textures and sounds never heard before.Template:Citation needed In 1981, Wonder became the first owner of an E-mu Emulator.<ref>Template:Cite book</ref>

Songs sampled by other musicians

Template:Overly detailed Wonder has recorded with Jon Gibson, a Christian Soul musician, on a remake of his own song, "Have a Talk With God" (from the 1989 album Body & Soul), covered by Gibson in which Wonder plays harmonica.<ref>Jon Gibson - SoulTracks - Soul Music Biographies, News and Reviews</ref> The two men met in the early 1980s through a shared music agent (Bill Wolfer).<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Red Hot Chili Peppers covered "Higher Ground" in 1989 on their Mother's Milk album. Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble covered "Superstition" and Wonder made a cameo appearance in the official music video for the song.Template:Citation needed

De La Soul sampled "Hey Love" in their song "Talkin' Bout Hey Love" on their 1991 album De La Soul Is Dead.

"Don't You Worry 'bout a Thing" was rendered by English band Incognito in 1992 and John Legend covered this song for the 2005 film, Hitch. George Michael and Mary J. Blige covered "As" in the late 1990s. In 1999, Salomé de Bahia made a Brazilian version of "Another Star". Tupac Shakur sampled "That Girl" for his hit song "So Many Tears".Template:Citation needed

"Pastime Paradise" would become an interpolation for Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise" and in 2004 by the Blue's Curtain Falls while Will Smith would use "I Wish" as the basis for the theme song to his movie, Wild Wild West. The elements of "Love's In Need of Love Today" were used by 50 Cent in the song "Ryder Music", and Warren G sampled "Village Ghetto Land" for his song "Ghetto Village".Template:Citation needed

Mary Mary did a cover of his song "You Will Know" on their 2002 album, Incredible. Australian soul artist Guy Sebastian recorded a cover of "I Wish" on his Beautiful Life album. In 2003, Raven-Symoné recorded a cover of "Superstition" for the soundtrack to Disney's The Haunted Mansion. In 2005, Canadian singer Dave Moffatt, from the group The Moffatts, sang the song "Overjoyed" from the In Square Circle album on Canadian Idol. Clay Aiken performed "Isn't She Lovely?" in the episode "My Life in Four Cameras" of Scrubs.Template:Citation needed

Personal life

Wonder has been married twice: to Motown singer/songwriter and frequent collaborator Syreeta Wright from 1970 until their amicable divorce in 1972; and since 2001, to fashion designer Kai Millard Morris.<ref name=MSNBC_AP_20050615>Template:Cite news </ref> He has seven children from his second marriage and several relationships.<ref name=MSNBC_AP_20050615/> In August 2012, it was revealed that Wonder had filed for divorce from Kai Millard, agreeing to pay Millard for spousal support as well as child support for their two children, asking for joint custody. Wonder and his wife had been separated since October 2009.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref>

Stevie met Yolanda Simmons when she applied for a job as his secretary for his publishing company.<ref name=woman>Woman's Own magazine, July 1978, pp. 65-68. Book extract from "Stevie Wonder" by Constanza Elsner, published by Everest.</ref> Simmons bore Wonder a daughter on February 2, 1975: Aisha Morris.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref> According to Stevie, the name Aisha is "African for strength and intelligence".<ref name="woman" /> After she was born, Stevie said "she was the one thing that I needed in my life and in my music for a long time.<ref name="woman" /> It was this in mind, she was the inspiration for his hit single "Isn't She Lovely." Aisha Morris is a singer who has toured with her father and accompanied him on recordings, including his 2005 album, A Time 2 Love. Wonder has two sons with Kai Millard Morris; the older is named Kailand and he occasionally performs as a drummer on stage with his father. The younger son, Mandla Kadjay Carl Stevland Morris, was born May 13, 2005, his father's 55th birthday.<ref name=MSNBC_AP_20050615/> In May 2006, Wonder's mother died in Los Angeles, at the age of 76. During his September 8, 2008 UK concert in Birmingham, he spoke of his decision to begin touring again following his loss. "I want to take all the pain that I feel and celebrate and turn it around."<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Wonder's Taxi Productions owns Los Angeles radio station KJLH.

Charting discography

Template:Main Template:Columns-list

Top 40 singles

Year Title Chart positions
<ref name="bill">[1]Template:Dead link</ref>
1963 "Fingertips – Pt. 2" 1 1
1966 "Uptight (Everything's Alright)" 3 1 14
"Blowin' in the Wind" 9 1 36
"A Place in the Sun" 9 3 20
1967 "I Was Made to Love Her" 2 1 5
1968 "For Once in My Life" 2 1 3
"Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Doo-Da-Day" 9 1
1969 "My Cherie Amour" 4 4 4
"Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday" 7 5 2
1970 "Never Had a Dream Come True" 26 11 5
"Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours" 3 1 15
"Heaven Help Us All" 8 2 29
1971 "We Can Work It Out" 13 3 27
"If You Really Love Me" 8 4 20
1972 "Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You)" 33 13
"Superstition" 1 1 11
1973 "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" 1 3 3
"Higher Ground" 4 1 29
"Living for the City" 8 1 15
"Don't You Worry 'bout a Thing" 16 2 -
1974 "He's Misstra Know It All" 10
"You Haven't Done Nothin'"
(with The Jackson 5)
1 1 30
"Boogie On Reggae Woman" 3 1 12
1977 "I Wish" 1 1 5
"Sir Duke" 1 1 2
"Another Star" 32 18 29
"As" 36 36
1979 "Send One Your Love" 4 5
1980 "Master Blaster (Jammin')" 3 1 1 1 2
"I Ain't Gonna Stand for It" 10 4 11
1981 "Lately" 3
"Happy Birthday" 17 2
"That Girl" 3 1 39
1982 "Do I Do" 7 2 10
"Ebony and Ivory" (with Paul McCartney) 1 8 1
"Ribbon in the Sky" 9
1984 "I Just Called to Say I Love You" 1 1 1 1
1985 "Part-Time Lover" 1 1 1 1 3
"That's What Friends Are For"
(with Dionne Warwick, Elton John and Gladys Knight)
1 1 1 16
"Love Light in Flight" 17 4 6 10
1986 "Go Home" 10 2 1 1
"Land of La La" 19
"Overjoyed" 24 8 1 17
1987 "Skeletons" 19 1 20
1988 "Get It" (with Michael Jackson) 4 37
"My Eyes Don't Cry" 6 12
"You Will Know" 1
1989 "With Each Beat of My Heart" 28
1990 "Keep Our Love Alive" 24
1991 "Fun Day (From "Jungle Fever")" 6
"Gotta Have You (From "Jungle Fever")" 3
1992 "These Three Words" 7
1995 "For Your Love" 11 30 23
2003 "Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)" (Blue feat. Stevie Wonder & Angie Stone" - - 11
2005 "So What the Fuss" 34 40 19
"From the Bottom of My Heart" 25 7
2012 "Isn't She Lovely" - - 94

U.S. and UK albums

Year Album Chart positions
<ref name="billboardalb">[2]Template:Dead link</ref>
<ref name="ukchart">Template:Cite web</ref>
1963 Recorded Live: The 12 Year Old Genius 1
1966 Up-Tight 33 2
1966 Down to Earth 72 8
1967 I Was Made to Love Her 45 7
1968 For Once in My Life 50 4
1969 My Cherie Amour 34 3 17
1970 Signed, Sealed, and Delivered 25 7
1971 Where I'm Coming From 7
1972 Music of My Mind 21 6
1972 Talking Book 3 1 16
1973 Innervisions 4 1 6
1974 Fulfillingness' First Finale 1 1 5
1976 Songs in the Key of Life 1 1 2
1979 Journey through the Secret Life of Plants 4 4 7
1980 Hotter than July 2 1 2
1982 Stevie Wonder's Original Musiquarium 4 1 8
1984 The Woman in Red 4 1 2
1985 In Square Circle 5 1 5
1987 Characters 17 1 33
1995 Conversation Peace 17 2 8
1996 Natural Wonder 88
1996 Song Review A Greatest Hits Collection 100 19
2000 At the Close of a Century 100
2002 The Definitive Collection 35 28
2004 Best Of Stevie Wonder: 20th Century Masters Christmas Collection 90
2005 A Time to Love 5 2 24
2007 Number 1's 171 40 23

Awards and recognition

Grammy Awards

Wonder has won 22 Grammy Awards:<ref name=Grammy /> as well as a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award which he was presented in 1996.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Year Award Title
1973 Best Rhythm & Blues Song "Superstition"
1973 Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male "Superstition"
1973 Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male "You are the Sunshine of My Life"
1973 Album of the Year Innervisions
1974 Best Rhythm & Blues Song "Living for the City"
1974 Best Male R&B Vocal Performance "Boogie On Reggae Woman"
1974 Best Male Pop Vocal Performance Fulfillingness' First Finale
1974 Album of the Year Fulfillingness' First Finale
1976 Best Male R&B Vocal Performance "I Wish"
1976 Best Male Pop Vocal Performance Songs in the Key of Life<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>
1976 Best Producer of the Year* N/A
1976 Album of the Year Songs in the Key of Life
1985 Best Male R&B Vocal Performance In Square Circle
1986 Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal
(awarded to Dionne Warwick, Elton John, Gladys Knight, and Wonder)
"That's What Friends Are For"
1995 Best Rhythm & Blues Song "For Your Love"
1995 Best Male R&B Vocal Performance "For Your Love"
1998 Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocal(s)
(awarded to Herbie Hancock, Robert Sadin, and Wonder)
"St. Louis Blues"
1998 Best Male R&B Vocal Performance "St. Louis Blues"
2002 Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals
(awarded to Wonder and Take 6)
"Love's in Need of Love Today"
2005 Best Male Pop Vocal Performance "From the Bottom of My Heart"
2005 Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals
(awarded to Beyoncé and Wonder)
"So Amazing"
2006 Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals (awarded to Tony Bennett and Wonder) "For Once In My Life"
  • From 1965 to 1980 a self-produced artist received one GRAMMY Award as an artist and an additional one as a producer in the Record of the Year and Album of the Year categories

Other awards and recognition

See also

Template:Wikipedia books



External links

Template:Wikiquote Template:Commons

Template:Stevie Wonder Template:AcademyAwardBestOriginalSong 1981–1990 Template:Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song 1980s Template:Grammy Award for Album of the Year 1970s Template:Polar Music Prize Template:Kennedy Center Honorees 1990s

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