As he himself sang in 1980, “Happy Birthday to you,” Stevie Wonder! The living legend turns 70 today.
Wonder was born Stevland Judkins in Saginaw, Michigan, and moved to Detroit at age four. Blind from infancy, Stevie was a child prodigy who played keyboards, harmonica and drums. At age 11, he signed to Motown/Tamla records, and at age 13, after being dubbed “Little” Stevie Wonder, he had a chart-topping hit with “Fingertips, Pt. 2.”
In 1966, he scored his first hit with a tune he helped compose — “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)” — which reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100. Other major hits he co-wrote during the late 1960s include “I Was Made to Love Her” and “My Cherie Amour.”
Stevie reached the pinnacle of his career during the 1970s, when he released a series of commercially successful and critically acclaimed albums. Among his many hits during the decade were “Superstition,” “You Are the Sunshine of My Life,” “Higher Ground,” “Living for the City,” “Don’t You Worry ’bout a Thing,” “You Haven’t Done Nothin’,” “Boogie On Reggae Woman,” “I Wish” and “Sir Duke.”
Wonder’s success continued into the 1980s with hits like “Master Blaster (Jammin’)” and the #1 smashes “Part-Time Lover” and “I Just Called to Say I Love You,” the latter of which also won a Best Original Song Oscar.
Stevie topped the charts with the 1982 Paul McCartney duet “Ebony and Ivory” and the 1985 charity song “That’s What Friends Are For,” featuring Dionne Warwick, Elton John and Gladys Knight.
Wonder’s honors include 25 Grammy Awards, induction into Rock & Roll and the Songwriters Halls of Fame, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, presented to him by President Barack Obama.
Last month, Wonder appeared on the multi-network coronavirus-themed special, One World: Together at Home.
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.