by Robert Wilkinson
Besides it being the birthday of Stephen Colbert, today we also send out a huge Happy Birthday to one of the greatest, Mister "Little" Stevie Wonder!
Stevie Wonder (born Stevland Hardaway Judkins on May 13, 1950) is one of the most creative and well-loved musical talents of the 20th century. Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, activist, and United Nations Messenger of Peace, this child prodigy who has been blind since infancy is a master musician who has given us some of the most memorable tunes in history. Star at 13, superstar at 21, this musical genius is a man for the ages!!
He is an amazing and extraordinary talent, and his music has been part of the soundtrack of my life. When I saw him years ago he introduced his band by their astrological signs, which let me know he's totally wired into "groovin' on the one!" His shows are simply amazing in their ability to bring forth Oneness in The Love. And he is one of the only blind people in history to drive a car.....
For your enjoyment, “Little Stevie Wonder!”
From 1964, in the UK, very live and very in the groove on his chromatic harmonica, “Little Stevie Wonder” doing the first part of the tune that first blew the doors down, the amazing “Fingertips”
Here’s a great clip from 1963 of the exciting rave up that got everyone’s attention and got them hitting the dance floor by the millions, “Fingertips Part 2”
Also from early in his career, live on the Mike Douglas Show, here’s Stevie performing “Up Tight” and “Place in the Sun”
From 1974, an entire 31 minutes of an extremely funky Stevie Wonder concert on German television
We are told this is a rare performance. Live on “Soul Train,” here’s Stevie live performing a medley of “My Cherie Amore,” “Sir Duke,” and more
Here are some great performances with some more added to round out the sound! If you didn’t catch them then, catch them now!!
Totally in a “live in the studio groove,” an ab-fab live performance by Mister Stevie Wonder of his very funky sendup to Duke Ellington and other jazz legends, the chart-topping “Sir Duke”
In the same spirit, here’s a live performance in Japan in 1982 of his tribute to the Prophet Bob Marley, the very danceable reggae masterpiece, “Master Blaster”
From sometime in the 80s, Mister Stevland offering up a live groove on television with “Sir Duke” and “I Wish”
From 1968, Stevie live on tv performing the classic “For Once In My Life”
Here’s Stevie live on Sesame Street in 1973 doing his hugely funky dance hit, “Superstition”
From 1991 with Tom Jones, a live duet of “Superstition”
From 2009, Stevie Wonder and Sting in a great live performance of “Higher Ground” and “Roxanne”
Here’s a great sentiment for these edgy times! Here’s Stevie live in London 2009 performing “Don’t You Worry “Bout A Thing”
From his live performance at the White House in 2009, here’s Stevie doing his smash hit “You Are the Sunshine of My Life”
Also from 2009 at the 25th Anniversary of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, here’s Stevie and the great BB King in a live duet of “The Thrill is Gone”
Speaking of awesome duets, here’s Stevie and the legendary Ray Charles in dueling keyboards doing Stevie’s monster hit “Living for the City”
From “Live at Last, A Wonder Summer’s Night” in London 2008, “Overjoy” and “Lately” and “My Cherie Amour” and “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)”
From the same 2008 London show, a great performance of “Part Time Lovers” and “Love At Last”
For one of our final tributes, here’s a full 2 hour concert of Stevie Wonder Rock In Rio IV - 2011
If you still haven’t had enough, I found audio only clips of two of his best albums in their entirety. Just hit play and kick back to some great background music that grooves! And of course, if you feel like dancin’, Stevie’s good for happy feet!
For a rare treat, here’s an audio-only offering from 1975 by the Prophet and Stevie in Jamaica, “I Shot the Sheriff”
Here’s a great 74 minute documentary giving us the inside look about one of his greatest albums, “Songs In The Key of Life”
From the show “Biography,” here’s a great 6-part documentary on Stevie Wonder! If you want to learn about this American musical treasure, check it out!!
For our closer, a 55 minute video concert from 1972! Stevie Wonder Live in NY - 1972
For our encore, a concert that seems apropos for our birthday boy! From 1989, the full 2 hour CBS television special Stevie Wonder Live in London – The Birthday concert
Thanks for everything over the years, Stevie. To be one of the best at what you do, and one of the most loved for what you do, puts you in rare company with the legends of all time! May you live as long as you want, and never want as long as you live! Just watch out for those crazies on the road when you’re behind the wheel....
Copyright © 2014 Robert Wilkinson