Happy Birthday, Stevie Wonder! Today, the legend born Steveland Morris turns a spry 66 years of age.
If he never records another note in what has been a career that started back in 1963 with his first hit record “Fingertips, Pt. 2”, I wouldn’t be sad at all. There is so much he has left us over all these years. And it’s not just his songs. “It’s A Shame” by the Spinners, “Let’s Get Serious” by Jermaine Jackson, “Until You Come Back To Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do)” by Aretha Franklin are some examples of songs he wrote or co-wrote that others made into hits. Smokey Robinson, himself an absolutely great songwriter, even got some help from Stevie with “Tears Of A Clown”, as sung by Smokey and the Miracles.
Today, however, I’m going to feature a few of my favorite Stevie Wonder songs that he performed.
These songs from the album Signed Sealed and Delivered were recorded most likely when Wonder was 19 years old. The album and the singles above were released in 1970. The 70s were without a doubt his best decade, meaning that his greatness was verified in his early and mid-twenties.
The next song is one of the funkiest things Wonder ever cut. That clavinet riff that powers the song is just badass.
I could take dozens of songs from Talking Book, Innervisions, Fulfillingness’ First Finale and Songs In The Key Of Life, but I only have so much space!
This next one has the Jackson 5 singing backup!
I’m going to try to limit myself on this album. I’ll probably fail. This first one we still need, because divisiveness and hate seem to be at an all-time high:
As an eleven-year-old kid, I got a sense of racial pride AND a history lesson in eight and a half minutes. And I got a dance workout in the process!
My all-time favorite Stevie song, featuring some guy named Herbie Hancock on piano (“until the rainbow burns the stars out of the sky…”)
This could go on and on…I skipped a bunch of great songs that I love, and didn’t get to some of his 80s classics. So I’ll go with this baker’s dozen of Stevie’s hits. Some you probably already know; some might be new to you. Please enjoy them all and celebrate the birthday of one of the greatest musicians of our time. And as always thanks for reading and listening.
If you have a favorite Stevie Wonder song you don’t see here, feel free to drop a video or tell me about it in the comments. Let’s celebrate the man’s life the best way we can—with his music!