Last year the American soul superstar Stevie Wonder celebrated his 70th birthday. It’s hard to believe he’s been in the music business for 60 years. The former child prodigy had a significant influence on the music of the 1970s. In the 1980s, he rose to become one of the biggest stars after numerous super hits. The list of them is long. Superstition, Isn’t She Lovely, and I Just Called to Say I Love You have long since entered the collective memory. The all-rounder plays numerous instruments, composes, sings and also campaigns for civil rights. His start into this life full of music was anything but easy.
Wonder was the third of six children born to his parents. Immediately after his birth, he the doctor’s hat to ventilate him. So-called premature retinopathy damaged his retina, and Wonder went blind. But the musician never let that stop him. At the age of four, he began to sing in the church choir, and by the age of nine, he had already mastered three instruments. At the age of eleven, Berry Gordy, the Motown label’s legendary boss, signed him. The first record was released a year later.
First Hit At The Age Of 13
1963 came with the song Fingertips, Part 2, the first success. Incidentally, the later soul star Marvin Gaye was on the drums for this number. It would be a few years before Stevie Wonder had enough influence to record his songs. As these became big hits, he gradually gained more control over his music. At the beginning of the 1970s, Wonder rose to become Motown’s most successful artist. He developed into one of the most influential soul artists in the world, who also increasingly looked after the careers of other artists as a producer. His biggest hit came in 1984 with the title song for the film The Lady In Red. I Just Called To Say I Love You even won the Oscar for best film music during the following year. We have long forgotten the movie, but the song became an evergreen.
His fans have remained loyal to him over the decades. Even the former American President Barack Obama is one of his admirers because he once described him as the heart and soul of an entire generation. Most recently, Stevie Wonder struggled with health problems. A kidney transplant put him out of action for some time. His influence extends far beyond his musical achievements. Even the conspiracy theorists have identified him as the central object of desire. For decades the rumour has been circulating that Wonder is not blind at all. As evidence, some cite that he once caught a microphone that Paul McCartney knocked over at a joint concert. The singer himself likes to make fun of it in public. So he said goodbye once with a laugh. I’ll drive home now and see you guys later.