Ebony and Ivory...
Stevie Wonder, whose real name is Stevland Hardaway Morris (but actually born Stevland Hardaway Judkins) is an American singer-songwriter, whose particularity, apart from being blind from birth, is that he started his career artistic by signing a first contract in a Motown subsidiary at the age of 11 ! He can also boast of having more than thirty Top10 US versions on his counter and having received no less than 25 Grammy Awards to date. Making him one of the most successful to date if not the most successful ! Not to mention the 100 million records sold around the world ... It is the fact of being born 6 weeks premature that will cause its cessation. In fact, too much oxygen in the incubator will trigger early retinopathy in him which will cause him to lose his sight. He took his first steps as an artist at an early age, creating the duo Stevie & John with a friend. Duet which occurs in the streets, but also in the parties. It was in 1961 that he was noticed by Ronnie White of the Miracles, who took him to audition at Motown. The young boy is immediately signed by the label Tamla, a subsidiary of Motown. And it was producer Clarence Paul who gave him his first stage name, Little Stevie Wonder. Given his very young age, the label gives him a specific contract which provides that all the money collected by the young artist will be set aside until he is 21 years old and that a tutor must be added for each stage performance. We made him work on a first album of covers of standards by Ray Charles, "Tribute to Uncle ray". In which will be included "Sunset", one of the first compositions of the prodigy. Another album follows in the wake "The jazz soul of little Stevie", much more instrumental than its predecessor. Things picked up speed in 1962 when her first single, "I call it pretty music but the old people call it the blues", was released. Followed by little "Little water boy". Unfortunately, the 2 albums, like the 2 singles, will meet with little success. Everything would change from 1963 when he joined the Chitlin’ circuit tour. Tour which will allow him to be particularly noticed by producing a high-level stage performance in May 1963. Then to release the same year the single “Fingertips”, single which will make a huge success and launch for good the career at all young artist. The sequel will get more complicated with a Stevie mutating vocally, which results in a growing public disinterest in him. So much so that Motown is considering firing him. It's Sylvia Moy, composer and producer, who saves his head, advises him to withdraw the nickname Little and works with him on the realization of the track "Uptight (Everything alright)". Title that will allow him to return to success. Return of the success which allows him to take "the stripe" within Motown. To the point of starting to compose for others, especially for Smokey Robinson. He will experience other major successes at the end of the decade with titles like "Blowin 'in the wind", "A place in the sun", "I was made to lover her", "For once in my life" but also and especially with the single “Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesteraday” which will become his very first global mega hit. Single from the album "My dearie of love" which will also become a worldwide success. The early 1970s saw him get married. He is still only 20 years old. At the same time, his aspirations to want to talk about social problems take more and more place in his songs. Three new albums were released, "Signed, sealed & delivered" in 1970, "Where I'm coming from" in 1971 and finally "Music of my mind" in 1972. The success is there but for now , it remains limited. Everything suddenly took on another dimension when the album "Talking book" came out at the end of 1972. The album was a huge success, in particular thanks to 2 flagship titles which are "Superstition" and "You are the sunshine of my life". The singles are huge global successes, which has the effect of raising the artist to a level of popularity never before attained. A popularity which he further increases during his tour with the Rolling Stones. The album "Innervisions", which was released later in 1973, was also very successful, but without producing exceptional singles like its predecessor. “Higher ground” and “Living for the city” will be the main extracts. The artist suffered a very serious car accident the same year, which left him in a coma for 4 days.
Quickly recovered, the artist released the album "Fulfillingness' first finale" a year later in 1974, which, despite very high scores, struggled to give unusual titles, except "You haven't done nothin" .
The artist reached a new level of fame when the album "Songs in the key of life" was released in 1976. The album achieved mind-blowing sales scores and remains one of his best-selling albums to this day. And this despite an accomplishment that will baffle more than one fan. “I wish” which came out the same year and “Sir Duke” which came out a year later in 1977 were the flagship singles. And to a lesser extent "Isn’t she lovely ?" in tribute to his daughter Aisha and "Another star".
The end of the decade will not bring much more than the single "Send one your love", released in 1979 and taken from a compilation of youthful songs brought up to date.
The 1970s will reveal him, the 1980s will see him literally explode. Starting with the release of the album "Hotter than July" during the year 1980. His 1st album certified Platinum in the United States and which will produce no less than 4 mega planetary hits that are "I ain't gonna stand for it", “Lately", “Happy birthday” (specially written to promote Martin Luther King's birthday) but also, and above all, the HUGE “Master blaster (Jammin ')”. A flagship title that would become one of the biggest standards of the 80s.
Older songs re-emerged in 1982 with the album "The original Musiquarium I". The singles "That girl" and especially "Do I do" will be the main successes and not the least. A remarkable year 1982 which saw him sing a duet with Paul McCartney on the title “Ebony and Ivory”, a hymn to tolerance between races. Title which will become his biggest hit single version since the start of his career.
Small air gap in 1983 and a resounding return in 1984 with the soundtrack album of the film "The woman in red" by Gene Wilder, a flagship album that will become the biggest success of his entire career on the album side, in particular thanks to the flagship single "I just called to say I love you". A title which will afford the luxury of trustering the first places of most of the Charts on the planet and which remains to this day the biggest success of his career on the single side, detonating "Ebony and Ivory".
Further anthology successes the following year in 1985 when the album "In square circle" was released. This time, it's the single "Part-Time lover" which will give the artist a success almost equivalent to "I just caled to say I love you". The artist is literally walking on water in this mid-1980s and everything he touches turns to gold. The proof once again when he participates in the title event "That’s what friends are for" which he performs in particular with Dionne Warwick. The title is also a worldwide hit.
But as paradoxical as it may seem, the second part of the decade will prove to be much more disappointing and the sales scores will have nothing to do with the previous ones.
The album "Characters" which came out in 1987 shows a beginning of disaffection on the part of the public. The singles "Skeletons" and "You will know" will still experience levels of global success but the decline is underway, that's obvious.
In 1988, the luxury duets, one with Michael Jackson on "Get it" and the other with Julio Iglesias on "My love", unfortunately did not change the situation.
The 1990s will not reverse the trend either. The artist will produce a new soundtrack in 1991, this time for the movie Jungle Fever by Spike Lee. BO which will be a great success.
His last major album of the decade was released in 1995. "Conversation place" produced his latest notorious hit, "For your love". The artist's career did not end there, however, but never again produced hits to match those produced during the 1980s.
A career spanning more than 40 years and which has left in history a multitude of musical gems that will make most of the other artists of his generation and subsequent generations pale !
To discover or rediscover.
Discography (among others ...) :
Hey harmonica man 1964
Hi-Heel sneakers 1965
Uptight (everything alright) 1965
Blowin’ in the wind 1966
A place in the sun 1966
I was made to love her 1967
I’m wondering 1967
You met your match 1968
For once in my life 1968
I don’t know why 1969
My Cherie amour 1969
Yester-me, Yester-you, Yesterday 1969
Never had a dream come true 1970
Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm yours 1970
If you really love me 1971
You are the sunshine of my life 1973
Higher ground 1973
Living for the city 1973
You haven't done nothin' 1974
I wish 1976
Isn't she lovely ? 1976
Sir Duke 1977
Another star 1977
Send one your love 1979
Master blaster 1980
I ain’t gonna stand for it 1980
Happy birthday 1981
That girl 1982
Ebony and ivory 1982
Do I do 1982
I just called to say I love you 1984
Love light in flight 1984
Part-time lover 1985
That’s what friends are for 1985
Go home 1985
Get it 1988
My love 1988
Keep our love alive 1990
Gotta have you 1991
For your love 1995
How come, how long 1997
True to your heart 1998
1963 ... the first steps of a very young man who will become one of the greatest living legends of the end of the 20th century ...
1964 ... the voice is still particularly youthful but the very particular style that will be his is already in place ...
1965 ... a slow but certain rise in power. And always on particularly playful rhythms. An obvious joie de vivre !
1965 ... a joie de vivre that we find once again on this last title of the year 1965 and which shows the full extent of the talent of a future very Great
1966 ... then the young boy begins his transfer. And reached a first level of planetary recognition. The steamroller is now running and nothing, and no one, will be able to stop it
1966 ... a decidedly exceptional year 1966 where top planetary hits followed one another at an impressive speed ...
1967 ... his first iconic title. All the basics are now in place for the legend to start ...
1967 ... a sequel a notch below. It is obvious that extraordinary talent has its limits and that each title released cannot go directly to the musical Pantheon at the end of the 20th century ...
1968 ... year after year, title after title, the singer gains mastery, it is obvious. Sixties preparatory to a mega fireworks display the following decade. And the decade after also ... And the decade after too !
1968 ... a year 1968 which ended in style with this new global top hit. Each year now offers him at least once the opportunity to shine on a planetary level
1969 ... 1966 was a Grand Cru, 1969 will be another. Starting with this title which launches a year that will prove to be sumptuous
1969 ... new planetary top hit. The "Wonder" style which will make its legend is more and more in place and begins to make a title of very large caliber on title of very large caliber
1969 ... a year which ended in apotheosis with its 1st global mega hit. A sensational entry in the big leagues which puts him in the best position for the following decade
1970 ... we start again on almost the same bases as at the end of 1969. Each title becomes almost an event in itself
1970 ... we find the typical style of the early 70s which does not necessarily allow the artist to produce the best of himself. We will have to wait a few years for the exceptional to arrive ...
1971 ... there is success, that's for sure, but it lacks the grain of genius that sets him apart from the crowd and makes a title an exceptionally exceptional work
1972 ... and the exceptionally exceptional, here it is ! Here he signs a title that is simply amazing which will remain as one of his most emblematic and which propels his career to levels never before reached. The legend is on the move !
1973 ... the exceptional succeeds the exceptional. Now it's a surging of wonderian mega hits that will be sweeping the globe. And this for years ! HU-GE !
1973 ... a unique style of its kind, inspired by another dimension and which allows the artist to shine in an incredible way !
1973 ... a year which ends as she began, that is to say in style. Certainly, this hit there will be the least prestigious but the 'small' hit like that, many other artists would be satisfied with it
1974 ... a status of 'Greatest' which is confirmed once again in a brilliant way. The top hits follow one after the other in an incredible way ...
1976 ... two years to come which take the artist to a new height. He will not be long in getting to know the stars !
1976 ... paradoxical as it may seem, this title will not be one of its top ranked. And yet, it is undoubtedly one of its most emblematic. Astonishing no ... MAS-TER-FUL !
1977 ... and what about that one ! Exceptional piece after exceptional piece, the artist confirms once again that he is really one of the biggest phenomena of the moment
1977 ... and it continues. The artist has reached an incredible level of inspiration that places him far above the competition. Master of the world !
1977 ... "Songs in the key of life", exceptional album which will produce 5 decidedly incredible tracks. When genius is at its maximum !
1979 ... then almost nothing in 1978 and 1979. Apart from this magnificent title in which we find a Stevie Wonder which leaves somewhat its usual register. An Intimate title which shows that he really excels in all areas !
1980 ... the 60s will have revealed him, the 70s will have seen him explode, the 80s will make him definitively return to the legend as one of the greatest artists of all time, just that. CULT !
1980 ... an 80s decade which started again on the hats of wheel and which will not see him go out of fashion, on the contrary !
1981 ... he signs here a new Intimist title of all beauty. He alternates more and more the dancing with the peaceful and it works perfectly
1981 ... yet another of his most iconic songs. A very simple title that has now become a global benchmark to celebrate certain birthdays that are a bit unusual ...
1982 ... one would have thought that the 1980s would make him out of date and that he would be irremediably relegated to playing supporting roles. Oh no, it is quite the opposite which occurs !
1982 ... the shock of the Titans ! When legend meets legend. The 2 geniuses sign here quite simply one of the biggest titles of the decade and of this end of the XXth century period. MAS-TER-FUL !
1982 ... undoubtedly one of the biggest dance hits of the beginning of the decade. An inspiration which is constantly renewed and which adapts perfectly to each era crossed. U-NI-QUE !
1984 ... exceptionally, not much in 1983. This is not the case the following year because here comes ... his Masterpiece. The biggest success of all his discography, an amazing title which will be ranked No.1 in almost all Charts on the planet. Who says better ? Well nobody ...
1984 ... how to compete with the previous song ? Almost impossible. And yet, this title is not without quality, that's for sure ...
1985 ... and here comes his 2nd biggest hit. Yes, yes, it is possible, he had not yet given everything. Here he signs a new incredible title Dance which will once again remain one of the most emblematic of the decade
1985 ... one of the most beautiful skewers of exceptional artists of the moment, of the decade and of the end of the twentieth century period. And the result is necessarily exceptional, what more can we say. Simply savor this moment !
1985 ... exceptional vintages, we can no longer even count them because there are so many. 1985 will be part of it with this 3rd title once again of very high caliber
1986 ... will 1986 be the year too many and the one that will see it decline ? And no, always on top the Stevie. Unstoppable !
1987 ... it is true that the end of 80 is not really going to look like its beginning. The artist's level of success will start to decline, something almost inevitable at some point ...
1988 ... new legendary duo. As much as the first had marked the musical history of the 80s, the second will prove to be somewhat disappointing. Incredible given the size of the 2 artists ... like what !
1988 ... he might try everything, when it doesn't want, it doesn't. Despite this new partner of very high caliber, the ranking in the Charts will not once again be up to their respective talents
1989 ... still one of his most emblematic titles. And yet, he too, will experience only mixed success ... compared to what the artist has experienced in past years
1990 ... he will have gone through the 1960s, then the 1970s, then the 1980s and here he arrived in the 1990s. An exceptional longevity for an artist who is no less so. Because he is well worth it !
1991 ... here he started again in this new decade. And he adapts, as always. New era, new sound !
1995 ... big air gap of 4 years, a first for him. But his talent is absolutely not altered, proof with this new title which allows him to regain the top of the Charts. Winning return !
1997 ... new air gap in 1996. It is this duo that will allow him to make a new comeback the following year in 1997. A duo with the young generation which works perfectly and which shows that he is still 'trendy'
1998 ... his last hit of the decade. Of course, he no longer has his level of inspiration of yesteryear but when we see the longevity of his career and especially the extreme quality of it, we can only celebrate this absolutely extraordinary talent which will remain as the one of the most incredible of the end of the 20th century
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