Happy Birthday

stevie wonder

Happy Birthday, Stevie Wonder, Musician, Producer and Activist

May 13, 2009
by findingDulcinea Staff
Stevie Wonder, the Motown sensation, chart topper, producer and humanitarian, has been in the spotlight for four decades.

Early Days

Steveland Hardaway Judkins was born prematurely on May 13, 1950, in Saginaw, Mich. He was placed in an incubator, and according to Allmusic, Wonder suffered from a syndrome called retinopathy of prematurity.

Never hindered by his disability, Steveland began his musical career when his family moved to Detroit and he started singing in his church choir. When he was 11, pop star Ronnie White heard Steveland playing for his friends and secured him an audition with Berry Gordy, the owner of Motown Records. Gordy signed him immediately and gave him the new name of “Little Stevie Wonder,” the young musician released two records to unimpressive sales. In 1963, however, Allmusic reports that he put out “The 12 Year Old Genius,” a live album that soared to the top of the charts.

According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Wonder's “Fingertips, Pt. 2," a concert track from that album, is "the first live single in history to reach Number One," and was a premonition of Wonder's longstanding prowess as a live musician.