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Herbie Hancock
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Bernie Worrell
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Peter Gabriel
Keith Emerson
Chick Corea
Sly Stone
John Medeski
Liam Howlett
Stevie Wonder
Thomas Dolby
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Stevie Wonder

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Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder is the stage name of Stevland Morris (born May 13, 1950 as Stevland Judkins[1]), an American singer, songwriter, record producer, musician, and social activist. Wonder has recorded more than 30 Top 10 hits, won 21 Grammy Awards [2] (a record for a solo artist), also one for lifetime achievement, he has won an Oscar for Best Song and been inducted into both the Rock and Roll and Songwriters halls of fame.

Blind from infancy, Wonder signed with Motown Records as an adolescent, and continues to perform and record for the label to this day. He has become one of the most successful and well-known artists in the world, with nine U.S. number-one hits to his name and album sales totaling more than 100 million units. Wonder has recorded several critically acclaimed albums and hit singles, and writes and produces songs for many of his labelmates and outside artists as well. A multi-instrumentalist, Wonder plays the drums, congas, bass guitar, organ and most famously the piano, keyboard and harmonica. Critics and colleagues have referred to the quality of Wonder's work and its versatility as being indicative of musical genius.

Early career, 1962-1971
In 1962, at the age of 11, Stevland Morris was introduced to Ronnie White of the popular Motown act The Miracles. White brought Morris and his mother to Motown Records. Impressed by the young musician, Motown CEO Berry Gordy signed Morris to Motown's Tamla label as Little Stevie Wonder.

At the age of 13, Little Stevie Wonder had his first major hit, "Fingertips (Pt. 2)", a 1963 single taken from a live recording of a Motortown Revue performance. The song, featuring Wonder on vocals, congas, and harmonica, and a young Marvin Gaye on drums, was a #1 hit on the US pop charts and launched him into the public consciousness. Dropping the "Little" from his moniker, Wonder went on to have a number of other hits during the mid-1960s, including "Uptight (Everything's Alright)", "With a Child's Heart", and "Blowin' in the Wind", a Bob Dylan cover which was one of the first songs to reflect Wonder's social consciousness. He also began to work in the Motown songwriting department, composing songs both for himself and his labelmates.

By 1970, Wonder had scored more major hits, including "I Was Made to Love Her", "For Once in My Life", "My Cherie Amour", and "Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)". Besides being one of the first songs on which Wonder serves as both songwriter and producer, "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" is one of the main showcases for his backup group Wonderlove, a trio which included at various times Minnie Riperton, Deniece Williams, Lynda Laurence, and Syreeta Wright, whom Wonder married on September 14, 1970. Wonder and Wright divorced eighteen months later, but they continued to collaborate on musical projects.

Besides Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder was one of the few Motown stars to contest the label's factory-like operation methods: artists, songwriters, and producers were usually kept in specialized collectives with little or no overlap, and artists had no creative control. Wonder argued with Berry Gordy over creative control a number of times. As a compromise, Motown released an album under the name "Eivets Rednow" (Stevie Wonder backwards). Arguments continued and Wonder allowed his Motown contract to expire, leaving the label on his twenty-first birthday in 1971. His final album before his departure was Where I'm Coming From, which Gordy had strongly fought against releasing.

Classic period, 1972-1976
Wonder independently recorded and released two albums, which he used as a bargaining tool while negotiating with Motown. Eventually, the label agreed to his demands for full creative control and the rights to his own songs, and Wonder returned to Motown in March 1972 with Music of My Mind, an album which is considered a classic of the era. Unlike most previous artist LPs on Motown, which usually consisted of a collection of singles, b-sides, and covers, Music of My Mind was an actual LP, a full-length artistic statement, and began a string of five albums released over a period of less than five years, that make up what is generally considered Stevie Wonder's classic period.

October 1972's Talking Book featured the #1 pop and R&B hit "Superstition", which is one of the most distinctive examples of the sound of the clavinet. Featuring a rocking groove that was partly inspired by and then covered by rock guitarist Jeff Beck, "Superstition" gained Wonder an additional audience on rock radio stations. That audience was further exposed to Wonder when he opened for The Rolling Stones on their much-heralded 1972 American Tour. Wonder's pop following was not neglected, however, as "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" followed to #1 on the pop charts and has been a staple love song for the decades since. Between them the songs won three Grammy Awards.
Wonder's critical and popular acclaim only increased less than a year later, in August 1973, when Wonder released what is often called his best album, Innervisions. Political considerations were brought into greater focus than ever before, with the driving, percolating "Higher Ground" (#4 on the pop charts) followed by the memorable epic "Living for the City" (#8), which found Wonder more evocatively describing a time and place in American life than he would anywhere else in his career. Popular ballads such as "Golden Lady" and "All in Love is Fair" were also present, in a mixture of moods that nevertheless held together as a unified whole. The album generated three more Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year.

On August 6, 1973, just days after the release of Innervisions, Wonder was in a serious automobile accident while on tour, when a log from a truck went through a passenger window and struck him in the head. This left him in a coma for a while and resulted in a permanent loss of his sense of smell.

Despite the setback, Wonder eventually recovered all of his musical facilities, and reappeared in concert at Madison Square Garden in March 1974 in a performance that highlighted both up-tempo material and long, building improvisations on mid-tempo songs such as "Living for the City". The album Fulfillingness' First Finale then appeared in July 1974 with a more personal, introspective outlook, but nevertheless sent two hits high on the pop charts. The Album of the Year was again one of three Grammys won.

On October 5, 1975, Wonder performed the historical Wonder Dream Concert in Kingston, Jamaica, a benefit concert for the Jamaican Institute for the Blind. Along with Wonder Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer, the three original "Wailers", performed together for the last time.

Wonder then focused his attentions on what he intended as his magnum opus, the double album-with-extra-EP Songs in the Key of Life, released in September 1976. Sprawling in style, unlimited in ambition, and sometimes lyrically difficult to fathom, the album was hard for some listeners to fully assimilate. Two tracks fairly jumped out of the radio with energy, however, becoming the #1 hits "I Wish" and "Sir Duke". "Isn't She Lovely" was a future wedding and bat mitzvah fixture, while songs such as "Love's in Need of Love Today" (which years later Wonder would perform at the post-September 11 America: A Tribute to Heroes telethon) and the classical "Village Ghetto Land" reflected a far more pensive mood. "Pastime Paradise" would become an interpolation for Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise" (one of the most popular hits of the 1990s). Yet again Wonder was awarded Album of the Year, along with two other Grammys.

Possibly exhausted by this concentrated and sustained level of creativity, Wonder was not heard from again for three years. Nevertheless his output during this stretch had left its mark: the 1983 Rolling Stone Record Guide said that these albums "pioneered stylistic approaches that helped to determine the shape of pop music for the next decade"; Rolling Stone's 2003 list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time included four of the five, with three in the top 90; while in 2005 Kanye West said of his own work, "I'm not trying to compete with what's out there now. I'm really trying to compete with Innervisions and Songs in the Key of Life. It sounds musically blasphemous to say something like that, but why not set that as your bar?"

Later career, 1979-present
When Wonder did return, it was with a soundtrack album for the never-finished film Journey through the Secret Life of Plants (1979). Mostly instrumental, the album was panned at the time of its release but has come to be regarded by some critics as an unusual classic. Hotter than July (1980) became Wonder's first platinum selling album, and its single "Happy Birthday" was a successful vehicle for his campaign to establish Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday as a national holiday. The album also included "Master Blaster (Jammin')", his tribute to Bob Marley, and the sentimental ballad, "Lately", which was later covered by 1990s R&B act Jodeci.

In 1982, Wonder released a retrospective of his '70s work with Original Musiquarium and included three more hit singles in his catalogue, including the ten-minute funk classic "Do I Do" (which included legendary jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie), "That Girl" (one of the year's biggest singles to chart on the R&B side) and "Ribbon in the Sky", one of his many classic compositions. Wonder also gained a #1 hit that year in collaboration with Paul McCartney in their paean to racial harmony, "Ebony and Ivory".

1984 saw the release of Wonder's soundtrack album for The Woman in Red. The lead single, "I Just Called to Say I Love You", was a #1 pop and R&B hit in both the US and UK, where it was placed 13th in the all-time list of best-selling singles in the UK issued in 2002. It went on to win an Academy Award for "Best Song" in 1985. The following year's In Square Circle featured the #1 pop hit "Part-Time Lover". He was also featured in Chaka Khan's cover of Prince's "I Feel For You", alongside Melle Mel, playing his signature harmonica, which was a huge hit. In roughly the same period he was also featured on harmonica on Eurythmics' single, "There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart)."
By 1985 Stevie Wonder was an American icon, the subject of good-humored jokes about blindness and affectionately impersonated by Eddie Murphy on Saturday Night Live. Thus it was only natural that he was in a featured duet with Bruce Springsteen on the all-star charity single for African famine relief, "We Are the World", and that he was part of another charity single the following year, the AIDS-targeted "That's What Friends Are For".

After 1987's Characters LP, Wonder continued to release new material, albeit at a slower pace. He recorded a soundtrack album for Spike Lee's film Jungle Fever in 1991, and released both Conversation Peace and the live album Natural Wonder during the same decade. In December 1999, Wonder announced that he was interested in pursuing an intraocular retinal prosthesis to partially restore his sight.

Wonder's first new album in ten years, A Time to Love, was released on October 18, 2005, after having been pushed back from first a May, and then a June release. The album was released electronically on September 27, 2005, exclusively on Apple's iTunes Music Store; see External links below. The first single, "So What the Fuss", was released in April and features Prince on guitar and background vocals from En Vogue. A second single, "From the Bottom of My Heart" is a current hit on adult-contemporary R&B radio. The album also features a duet with India Arie on the title track "A Time to Love".

Wonder performed at the pre-game show for Super Bowl XL in Detroit in early 2006, singing various hit singles (with his four-year-old son on drums) and accompanying Aretha Franklin during "The Star Spangled Banner".
In March 2006, Wonder received new national exposure on the top-rated American Idol television program. Each of 12 contestants were required to sing one of his songs, after having met and received guidance from him. (Some of the contestants idolized Wonder, while others showed little familiarity with his work.) Wonder also performed "My Love Is on Fire" live on the show itself. Most recently, in June 2006, Stevie Wonder will make a guest appearance on Busta Rhymes' new album, The Big Bang on the track "Been through the Storm" he sings the refrain and plays the piano on the Dr. Dre and Sha Money XL produced track. --Bio Courtesy of wikipedia

Visit the official Stevie Wonder Web Site

Innervisions - If you want an introduction to the best Fender Rhodes, Clavinet, and Moog work ever it begins here. This is ground zero!! Classic Stevie Wonder.-- Rodney Lee

One of Stevie Wonder's best albums, and the one where his more fanciful, free-form moments gel perfectly with his knack for irresistible pop singles, 1973's Innervisions swings between delicate and airy ballads, Latin-influenced rhythms (the hit "Don't Worry 'Bout a Thing"), and his own synth-heavy versions of gut-bucket soul (the determined spiritual questing of "Higher Ground"). The striking juxtaposition between "Vision," a barely breathed hope that a world of peace might be upon us, and the great "Living for the City," a funky, pulsing tale of racism, is powerful, haunting, and still all too relevant. --David Cantwell
Fulfillingness' First Finale - Get your Rhodes, Clavinet, and Moog out, it's time for another lesson. -- Rodney Lee

Stevie Wonder was in the middle of a multi-album roll when he put out this funk and soul collection, clunky title and all, in 1974. As usual, he adds depth and unexpected touches to even the most straightforward love song--the moving piano ballad "Too Shy to Say" has a spooky feeling, as if "I want to fly away with you, until there's nothing more to do" is the saddest line he ever sang. The harder songs, such as the fuzzy funk of "Boogie On Reggae Woman" and the angry "doo-de-wop" attack on Richard Nixon in "You Haven't Done Nothin'," add urgency without sacrificing the album's cohesiveness. --Steve Knopper
Classic Albums - Stevie Wonder - DVD
Taking more than two years from conception to release, Stevie Wonder's classic 1976 double album, Songs in the Key of Life, is now generally considered his finest creative hour in an enduring, influential career of nearly four decades. Songs in the Key of Life is also regarded by many music fans as one of the outstanding albums to appear in that entire timespan.
Released in October 1976, Songs in the Key of Life entered the U.S. Billboard album chart at No. 1 and remained there for 14 weeks, topping off a 44-week chart residency in the Top 40. Its success amply rewarded Motown Records' earlier $13 million investment in Wonder when it had re-signed him to the label. The deal was the largest in recording history at the time.
Songs in the Key of Life also reached No. 2 in the U.K., remaining on the charts for over a year, and was a worldwide best seller. Two singles from the album, "I Wish" and "Sir Duke" (the latter dedicated to the great jazz legend Duke Ellington), both reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and were also U.K. Top 10 hits.
This outstanding chart success was consolidated when Steve Wonder won Album of the Year at the 1976 Grammy Awards. He was also named Producer of the Year and won the Best Male Vocal Performance category.
The remarkable story behind Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life project is told here. Stevie himself reminisces about the inspiration for the album, and there are also contributions from Motown founder (and Wonder father figure) Berry Gordy, Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, and lyricist Gary Byrd, among many others. In addition, there is a unique reunion of the musicians who played on the original album sessions.
Songs in the Key of Life. If you don't know this record then you are not from earth. This is Stevie Wonder on steroids. This music literally changed my life. -- Rodney Lee

Songs in the Key of Life (1976) was the highest high point of Stevie Wonder's career. --Rickey Wright

If you are a Stevie Wonder fan then perhaps you will enjoy my CD as well.
My CD is more electronic than Stevie Wonder but my CD is loaded with
Fender Rhodes, Clav, and Moog sounds.

The Satellite Orchestra is the latest project from Los Angeles keyboardist Rodney Lee. The music is a cinematic journey into soulful live electronica with Lee navigating from a Fender Rhodes electric piano. The CD was released in Sept. 2006 and features Rico Belled on bass, Allen Lightner on percussion, Dino Soldo on bass clarinet and flutes, Dave Karasony on Drums, and vocalists Jody Watley, Jeff Robinson, and Wade3.
The Satellite Orchestra is like a chance meeting of Massive Attack, Zero-7, and Herbie Hancock.

" I have always believed that an album is a trip..not just music to wash the dishes to, but a place to go.. a journey to take.. an album goes to a place in your soul that maybe you forgot was there...or maybe you never discovered.. The Satellite Orchestra is such an's music you feel...make sure to bring your headphones." -DJ Jedi

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Stevie Wonder: The Stevie Wonder Anthology - sheet music at
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