Stevie Wonder is an American R&B musician, vocalist, songwriter, and producer who began recording for Tamla/Motown in 1962 at age 12. During the mid-to-late 1960s, he scored a string of pop hits for the label, culminating with the decade-ending ballad “My Cherie Amour” and 1970’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours.”
Upon turning 21, he gained full artistic control of his career and adopted a more album-oriented approach, starting with the 1972 releases Music of My Mind and Talking Book. Over the subsequent 15-year period, he recorded seven studio albums, reaching peak popularity with the ambitious 1976 double-plus release Songs in the Key of Life.
Wonder was born Stevland Hardaway Judkins in Saginaw, Michigan, on May 13, 1950, the second of two children born to Calvin Judkins and songwriter Lula Mae Hardaway. He was born six weeks premature and placed in an oxygen-rich hospital incubator, which caused retinopathy of prematurity that left him blind.
When Stevland was four, Hardway divorced Judkins and changed the boy’s surname to Morris. She moved her children to Detroit, where young Stevland sang in the Whitestone Baptist Church choir. At an early age, he started playing piano, harmonica, and drums. He formed his first musical partnership with a childhood friend named John. They would play at parties, dances, and on street corners.
At age 11, Stevland played his composition “Lonely Boy” to Miracles co-founder Ronnie White, who took the boy for an audition with Motown founder Berry Gordy, who signed the youngster to the label’s Tamla division. According to contract stipulations, Stevland’s earnings would be held in a trust until he turned 21. Before recording, producer Clarence Paul renamed the boy Little Stevie Wonder.
First Two Albums
In September 1962, Tamla issued The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie, the debut album by twelve-year old Stevie Wonder.
In October 1962, Tamla issued Tribute to Uncle Ray, the second album by Little Stevie Wonder.
Recorded Live: The 12 Year Old Genius
On May 21, 1963, Tamla issued Recorded Live: The 12 Year Old Genius, the first Stevie Wonder live album, recorded in June 1962 at the Regal Theater in Chicago.
Standards and Surf Albums
On December 28, 1963, Tamla issued With a Song in My Heart, the third studio album by the now thirteen-year-old Stevie Wonder and the first without “Little” affixed to his name.
On June 23, 1964, Tamla issued Stevie at the Beach, the fourth studio album by Stevie Wonder.
Stevie Wonder released his fifth studio album, Up-Tight, on May 4, 1966, on Tamla.
Down to Earth
Stevie Wonder released his sixth studio album, Down to Earth, on November 16, 1966, on Tamla.
I Was Made to Love Her
Stevie Wonder released his seventh studio album, I Was Made to Love Her, on August 27, 1967, on Tamla.
Someday at Christmas
On November 27, 1967, Tamla issued Someday at Christmas, a collection of yuletide standards by Stevie Wonder.
On November 20, 1968, Gordy issued Eivets Rednow, a collection of instrumentals recorded by Stevie Wonder with backing by the Funk Brothers.
For Once in My Life
Stevie Wonder released his tenth studio album, For Once in My Life, on December 8, 1968, on Tamla.
My Cherie Amour
Stevie Wonder released his eleventh studio album, My Cherie Amour, on August 29, 1969, on Tamla.
On March 6, 1970, Tamla issued Stevie Wonder Live, the singer’s first live album as an adult.
In the UK, Tamla issued Live at the Talk of the Town, recorded at the Talk of the Town nightclub in London.
Signed, Sealed & Delivered
Stevie Wonder released his twelfth studio album, Signed, Sealed & Delivered, on August 7, 1970, on Motown.
Where I’m Coming From
Stevie Wonder released his thirteenth studio album, Where I’m Coming From, on April 9, 1971, on Tamla.
Music of My Mind
Stevie Wonder released his fourteenth studio album, Music of My Mind, on March 3, 1972, on Tamla.
Stevie Wonder released his fifteenth studio album, Talking Book, on October 27, 1972, on Tamla.
Stevie Wonder released his sixteenth studio album, Innervisions, on August 3, 1973, on Tamla.
Fulfillingness’ First Finale
Stevie Wonder released his seventeenth studio album, Fulfillingness’ First Finale, on July 22, 1974, on Tamla.
Songs in the Key of Life
Stevie Wonder released his eighteenth studio album, Songs in the Key of Life, on September 28, 1976, on Tamla.
Stevie Wonder’s Journey Through “The Secret Life of Plants”
Stevie Wonder released his first soundtrack album, Journey Through “The Secret Life of Plants”, on October 30, 1979, on Tamla.
Hotter than July
Stevie Wonder released his twentieth studio album, Hotter than July, on September 29, 1980, on Tamla.
Stevie Wonder’s Original Musiquarium I
On May 4, 1982, Tamla issued the double-album Stevie Wonder’s Original Musiquarium I, a compilation of 1972–80 material with four new songs.
The Woman in Red
Stevie Wonder released his second soundtrack album, The Woman in Red, on August 28, 1984, on Motown.
In Square Circle
Stevie Wonder released his twenty-first studio album, In Square Circle, on September 13, 1985, on Tamla.
Stevie Wonder released his twenty-second studio album, Characters, on November 6, 1987, on Motown.
- Up-Tight (1966)
- Down to Earth (1966)
- I Was Made to Love Her (1967)
- Someday at Christmas (1967)
- Eivets Rednow (1968)
- For Once in My Life (1968)
- My Cherie Amour (1969)
- Signed, Sealed & Delivered (1970)
- Where I’m Coming From (1971)
- Music of My Mind (1972)
- Talking Book (1972)
- Innervisions (1973)
- Fulfillingness’ First Finale (1974)
- Songs in the Key of Life (1976)
- Stevie Wonder’s Journey Through “The Secret Life of Plants” (1979)
- Hotter than July (1980)
- The Woman in Red (1984)
- In Square Circle (1985)
- Characters (1987)
- Jungle Fever (1991)
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