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Wonder, Stevie (13th May 1950-Present)

He is a multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter and producer born prematurely in Saginaw, Michigan, as Stevland Judkins, which was later changed to Stevland Morris. He has been blind from infancy possibly due to receiving excessive oxygen levels in his incubator, causing retinopathy.

He was singing and playing at church from a very young age and taken to Motown at the age of 11 where he became Little Stevie Wonder. He had his first major hit at the age of 13 which was “Fingertips” and featured an also young Marvin Gaye on drums. He dropped the “Little” from his name in the mid-60s and went on to become one of the most successful Motown artists ever as performer and songwriter.

His backing group is called Wonderlove and over the years has featured singers that have included Deniece Williams, Minnie Ripperton and Syreeta Wright, who he was briefly married to from 1970 until 1972.

In 1973 he was in a serious road traffic accident that left him in a coma and removed his sense of smell permanently.

He has appeared on songs with many artists including Chaka Khan, Busta Rhymes, Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney and has performed the harmonica on hundreds of recordings.

Alongside being inducted into the Rock and Roll and the Songwriters Halls of Fame he was honoured at the Kennedy Center Honors by President Clinton.  He has championed the efforts to make Martin Luther King’s birthday a holiday as well as being involved in many humanitarian projects.  He was presented with the Gershwin Prize by President Barack Obama n 2009.

A winner of 25 Grammy Awards which has been unbeaten by a solo artist and presented with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996, he has also won an Oscar for Best Song with “I Just Called To Say I Love You”, and has had more than 30 Top 10 hits.

He has seven children and his four-year old son accompanied him at the pre-game show for the 2006 Super Bowl.

Johnny Mathis & Deniece Williams recordings
Emotion (Barry Gibb/Robin Gibb)
S CBS 6164B (UK 45)