Born as Stevland Hardaway Judkins, he lost his sight shortly after birth. When 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.
Wonder signed with Motown’s Tamla label at the age of eleven, and continues to perform and record for Motown to this day. To date, he has recorded more than thirty U.S. top ten hits and received twenty-two Grammy Awards, the most ever awarded to a male solo artist. In 2008, Billboard magazine placed Wonder fifth in their list of the Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists. He has recorded several critically acclaimed albums and hit singles, and writes and produces songs for many of his labelmates and outside artists. A multi-instrumentalist, Wonder plays the drums, guitar, synthesisers, congas, and most famously the piano, harmonica, and keyboards.
Wonder forged his divergent styles into a trademark sound, putting his musical signature on a quartet of albums that would change music forever: 1972’s Talking Book, 1973’s Innervisions, 1974’s Fullfillingness’ First Finale, and 1976’s Songs in the Key of Life. By the end of the decade, Wonder had won a record fifteen Grammys, as well as numerous other awards.
In the following decades he wrote, among other classics, his 1982 collaboration with Paul McCartney, “Ebony and Ivory”, which remained number one for seven weeks in a row. 1984’s The Woman in Red soundtrack produced the enduring classic “I Just Called to Say I Love You”, yet another number-one hit that gained him an Academy Award.
In 1989 Wonder was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame alongside The Rolling Stones.
His contribution to worldwide social and political change is just as impressive; he championed the effort to make Martin Luther King’s birthday a national holiday, as well as becoming a driving force behind 1985’s USA for Africa campaign.
Edited by top40hits on 13 May 2013, 01:11
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