Considered one of the greatest songwriters of all time, Steveland Morris (1950-) was born on this day in Saginaw, Michigan and lost his eyesight as a newborn. By age ten, he wrote his first song and could play the piano, drums, and harmonica.
"Harmonica, bongos, and hooky," he recalled with characteristic wit. The boy wonder became Stevie Wonder, a teenage sensation who matured into a profound innovator of popular music.
"Just because one cannot see, doesn't mean he has no vision. And just because one cannot walk, doesn't mean he can't go the distance," said the spiritual optimist.
Wonder signed with Motown Records in 1963. His first single was the instrumental Fingertips, followed by a stream of hits, including: I Was Made to Love Her (1967), For Once in My Life (1968), My Cherie Amour (1969), and Signed, Sealed, Delivered (1970).
In 1971, with a new contract and complete artistic control, Wonder created even greater music as he experimented with synthesizer and studio techniques. Playing virtually all the instruments on his songs, he explained, "I love creating the whole sonic experience."
Inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame in 1989, when he performs, Wonder's face radiates with music love. His head rocks back and forth, side to side, and this rapture permeates his lyrics and melodies. His harmonica is distinctive. His steady drum beat resonates, like the beat of his heart. A legend: There is only one Stevie Wonder.
"When I write I try to capture the feelings in my music, the way I am feeling inside," Stevie explained. "I sometimes go back years later and listen to my songs to feel what I was feeling then and to measure if I still feel that way now..."
"...to make sure that they can still evoke the same feelings I had when I wrote them. When they can, I know that I succeeded in getting my real feelings in them."
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You don't need a reason when it's straight from the heart.