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This Day In History: May 13th
With more than two dozen Grammy awards to his name and over 20 studio albums, it is no surprise that Stevie Wonder is a revered figure in the music industry. He burst onto the scene during the early part of the 1960s and has managed to enjoy a career that spans more than six decades. Here are five things to know about the legendary Stevie Wonder!
- The Origin Story Of Stevie Wonder. Stevland Hardaway Judkins was born on May 13, 1950, in Saginaw, Michigan. Judkins was born prematurely and suffered from an eye disorder which was made worse when he received too much oxygen in an incubator. This led to blindness from an early age, but it did not inhibit his music abilities. By the age of 10, Judkins was a self-taught Drummer, pianist and harmonica player.
- Youngest Artist To Top Billboard Charts. Some of his first productions such as “The Jazz Soul Of Little Stevie” (1962) and “The 12 Year Old Genius Live” were an early foreshadowing of Wonder’s future success. He was signed to Motown Records in 1961 at the age of 11. It didn’t take long for the young performer to gain national attention. In 1963, he became the youngest artist to top Billboard charts with his song “Fingertips.” Wonder followed up by releasing songs such as “Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Doo-Da-Day” and “You Met Your Match,” and “Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday.” Throughout his career, Wonder has continued to be a fan-favorite. Some of his biggest hits include, “Superstition,” “Living for the City,” and “I Just Called to Say I Love You.”
- No Stranger To Humanitarian Efforts. Despite having a net worth of more than $100 million, Wonder is not out of touch with the harsh realities that some people may go through. He has written and performed songs to help support charities that address disabilities, AIDS, cancer, diabetes, hunger and homelessness, domestic abuse and more. Wonder even led a campaign to make Martin Luther King Day a national holiday. His humanitarian efforts have been recognized by several agencies including the United Nations. In 2009 he was designated as a ‘Messenger of Peace’ with a focus on persons with disabilities.
- So What The Fuss Records. After spending almost 60 years recording with Berry Gordy at Motown Records, the music legend decided to start his own label. In 2020, Wonder launched So What The Fuss Music at the age of 70. He partnered with Republic Records (an offshoot of Universal Music Group) when launching the label. The label debuted with two songs, “Can’t Put It in The Hands of Fate” features Busta Rhymes, Rapsody, Cordae, and Chika as well as “Where Is Our Love Song.” The philanthropist donated proceeds from the singles to Feeding America.
- Awards And Accolades. As a reflection of his extensive career, Wonder has amassed a wide array of awards and honors. The Motown star has earned 25 Grammys alone and several Lifetime Achievement Awards (Songwriters Hall Of Fame, Billboard Century Award, City of Detroit, etc). Wonder has garnered other accolades including a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Hall of Fame inductions (Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, NAACP, The Apollo Theater, etc) and honorary degrees from colleges such as Yale, Oberlin and Tulane University.