Icon, mogul, diva. First billed as "The 12-Year Old Genius", a nod to
eighth-wonder Ray Charles. A string of hits for "old" Motown, starting with "Fingertips". Began asserting independence, covering Dylan, doing writing and production work. Could have retired at 21, but Motown had ripped him off - he gained full independence as a consolation prize. Stevie Wonder 0wn3d j00. As an Elder Statesman, he
remains masterful, even though the thrill is gone.

The biggest problem Stevie Wonder had in his heydey was his insistence on the use of a keyboard bass (played by him) as opposed to a human bass player. The lack of improvisation in the bottom end of his tunes was the death of his artistry. Obviously a great songwriter, but way too full of himself to be a lasting icon. True genius recognizes when it needs assistance.

Say you want to hear the difference? Listen to Talking Book with an excellent real live human bass player and then to Hotter Than the Fourth of July without. I think you'll understand.

Born Steveland Morris or Steveland Judkins in Detroit, Stevie Wonder has been blind since birth and was a musical prodigy. He was a skilled musician, playing piano, harmonica, and drums while still in grade school, and was signed to Motown. His first hit was "Fingertips (Part 2), recorded when he was 12 years old.

Over the following decades, Wonder established himself as one of the most influential musicians of the twentieth century. He enjoyed his greatest success in the seventies, though he did have success in the sixties, cowriting with Smokey Robinson the classic "The Tears of a Clown," and recording "My Cherie Amour".

During the seventies, he recorded hits such as "Superstition," "You are the Sunshine of My Life, and the classic album, "Songs in the Key of Life, a work which contained such soul classics as "As," "Sir Duke," "Knocks me off my Feet," and "Isn't She Lovely." His works since this 1976 masterpiece have not been nearly so revolutionary, but he has had occasional hits such as 1984's "I Just Called to Say I Love You."

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