Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder has just the one credit, as the harmonica player on There Must Be An Angel. The story to how he got to the studio, and his one take is well know, but worth looking up if you don't know. Dave and Annie had left the studio thinking he wasn’t goingto come, only for him to arrive several hours later. Stevie Wonder has huge respect for Dave and Annie, and presented them with their Brit Award for Outstanding Contribition in 1999.

R&B star Stevie Wonder was born Steveland Morris on May 13, 1950 in Saginaw, Mich. As a premature infant Wonder was placed in an incubator and accidentally given too much oxygen, causing him to go blind. While many would consider this a great handicap,the ever-optimistic Wonder later said his blindness was a blessing, allowing him to concentrate on his sense of hearing. The Morris family moved to Detroit, and by the age of seven Stevie was a vocal and piano prodigy, later learning the drums and harmonica. Discovered by a member of the Miracles, the gifted child was introduced to Motown founder Berry Gordy, and at the age of 12 had his first record deal. Taking the stage name "Little Stevie Wonder," his first album, 1962's Twelve Year Old Genius, spawned the No. 1 hit "Fingertips (Part 2)." Thanks to his unusual circumstances, energetic live performances and chart-topping hits like "Harmonica Man" and "Contract On Love," Wonder became a nationally recognized musician before the age of 15. Before he turned 20 Wonder was writing nearly all of his songs, and even penned the Smokey Robinson hit "Tears of a Clown." When Wonder turned 21 in 1971, his contract with Motown expired, and he took time off from his recording career to explore other directions. Using his previous earnings, Wonder built his own recording studio and enrolled in USC, where he studied formal music theory to improve his compositional skills. Unhappy with Motown's control overhis career, Wonder recorded two complete albums at his new studio -- Where I'm Coming From and the synth-driven Music of My Mind -- and used them as bargaining chips when renegotiating with Berry Gordy. Wonder became the first Motown artist to break Gordy's renown grip on performers, winning a higher royalty rate and, more importantly, full artistic freedom and publishing rights. His future secure, Wonder turned over his albums to Motown, who released them in early 1972; though they were not huge commercial hits, the cohesive albums were a breakthrough for soul and R&B, which were traditionally based around manufactured hit singles ratherthan quality full-length records by a self-contained singer-songwriter. Wonder returned to the top of the charts with 1972's Talking Book, a critically acclaimed and commercially successful release which spawned two hit singles, "Superstition" and "You Are the Sunshine of My Life". 1973's Innervisions, widely considered his finest work, was another leap forward for Wonder -- besides containing catchy hits like "Living For the City" and the funky "Higher Ground", the album contained political, religious, and social messages previously rare in pop-R&B music, opening the genre up to more outspoken lyrics. In August 1973 Stevie Wonder was critically injured when a car in which he was being driven to a North Carolina concert was struck by falling timber; after being comatose for nearly a day, Wonder made a full recovery, though a head injury left him withouta sense of smell. Inspired by his amazing recovery, Wonder released 1974's Fulfillingness' First Finale, an upbeat record which featured the hits "Boogie on Reggae Woman" and the political funk piece "You Haven't Done Nothin'". Between 1972 and 1974 Wonder won more Grammys than any other performer, in nearly every category: Best R&B Artist, Best Song, Best Male Vocalist and Best Album. After spending over a year recording, Wonder released the epic double album Songs in the Key of Life in 1976; the sprawling album was mildly criticized for its pretentiousness, yet featured one of his biggest hits, "Sir Duke," and was a huge seller. Strangely, Wonder did not release an immediate follow-up, taking almost three years off to work on a mostly instrumental soundtrack for the obscure, unfinished film Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants. The panned New Age-inspired album contained no major singles yet still reached No. 4 based on Wonder's name alone. Wonder returned to his original style with 1980's Hotter Than J

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