May 13, 2010 Happy birthday to you: Stevie Wonder at 60.
I just love it when in “Boogie On Reggae Woman “, Stevie Wonder sings s “can I play…………can I play?…….” and his sweet harmonica solo answers the question with life enhancing undying certainty – YES!!
You just gotta love the guy .
Supporting as always my Michigan roots.. I blog today about Stevie Wonder’s Birthday. I feel the need to run to the corner drug store to find one of those “Geez I forgot your Birthday cards.. but instead I will talk about my infatuation with this Wonder God.
Growing up in the Grand River Greenfield area. of Metro Detroit, then moving out to new burbs of Farmington Hills and Northville, my brother and I were committed soul freaks who imbued the same sense upon all of our group of friends. A Greatest Hits of Stevie was the first tape, and then cd, that I remember ionizing and ruining until it wore out. From those memories.. I chose ” Living In the City’ to represent Mr. Magic ( as we called him) Wonder influence on Motown Mania and on my life. It played at full volume in the my brother’s very cool Corvette.
For a little background material — Stevie Wonder was born in Saginaw, Michigan in 1950, being 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.
Stevie Wonder is one of the prominent figure in our popular Motown Mania performance. , Wonder has recorded more than thirty U.S. top ten hits and won twenty-two Grammy Awards[ (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, and been inducted into both the Rock and Roll and Songwriters halls of fame.
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 name 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.
The song “Living In the City” begins with Wonder describing the life of a boy born in “hard time Mississippi”. His family is poor, but his parents work hard and encourage him, in spite of the dreadful conditions they live in, which include lack of food and money, and racism. As the track progresses, the tension and anger build in Wonder’s voice, matching the growing frustrations of the subjects in the song. A spoken interlude midway through the song has the young boy, now a young man, arriving in New York City for a new beginning. He is tricked into transporting drugs, arrested and sentenced to 10 years in jail. The tension in Wonder’s voice boils over at this point into an angry growl, but then subsides again as he ends the song on a positive note. he song ends, during the wordless instrumental break, leaving the listener, hanging, on which note is the song going to end on. The spoken interlude can be seen as an electro-acoustic experiment, exploring the composer’s main sensory input. Stevie Wonder’s growling voice reveals the inner rage that has been building throughout the song.
“Living for the City” still holds a substantial edge in social commentary. as does the video created by Sunhead Projects for Motown Mania.
So Stevie… I say to you and all of your fans.. The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.
Don’t Miss Motown Mania at Piccolo Spoleto..