Entertainment
USA | May 13, 2022

Happy Birthday, Stevie Wonder!: Top 8 wonder songs to add to your playlist

Ategie Edwards

Ategie Edwards / Our Today

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Stevie Wonder (Photo: Encyclopedia Britannica)

American singer and songwriter Stevie Wonder, whose real name is Stevland Hardaway Morris, today celebrates 72 years on Earth.

Blind since birth, the icon who first emerged on the music scene at the tender age of 11, became the youngest ever to top the Billboard 100 music chart, at age 13 with Fingertips.

Over the years, Wonder has been very impactful, credited as a pioneer for influencing musicians  across a range of genres that include rhythm and blues, pop, soul, gospel, funk, and jazz.

With decades worth of work, resulting in numerous timeless hits, sanding down the list to a mere 8, proved difficult.

As we celebrate the birthday of Stevie Wonder, let us take a look at some of his classic hits that deserve a spot on your playlist.

8. Superstition

This track is about the dangers of believing in superstitions. Alluding to some harbingers of bad luck, Wonder wrote about the number 13, walking under a ladder and breaking a mirror.

The song was released in 1972 on his Talking Book album.

7. I Wish

I Wish, Wonder’s fifth #1 on the Hot 100 chart, chronicled his early life as a child. Despite the life of poverty he had at that time, the older Wonder fondly recalls those days and wishes he could go back to those simple times.

The artiste wrote the song after attending a Motown Picnic, where he played games that reminded him of his childhood days.

“I had such a good time at the picnic that I went to Crystal Recording Studio right afterwards and the vibe came right to my mind,” he said.

The popular Happy Feet film, featured this record on its soundtrack.

6. Master Blaster (Jammin’)

From the singer’s 1980 album Hotter Than July, the upbeat and groovy Master Blaster (Jammin’) speaks to the world as a place of togetherness and peace among people, a vision he shared with Jamaican reggae legend, Bob Marley.

Wonder, who was good friends with Marley, spoke of doing grand projects with him, including a joint concert where the pair would perform their 1979 albums Survival [Marley] and Journey Through The Secret Life of Planets [Wonder]. However, this never came to fruition due to Marley developing cancer, which led to his untimely death.

This track, among others, was featured in the singer’s 2015 Songs in the Key of Life: An All-Star Grammy Salute tribute, which includes the likes of Beyonce, Ed Sheeran and Gary Clark Jr.

5. Higher Ground

Wonder played every instrument on this track, recorded in an intense three hour session. The track talks about getting a second chance at life and making the most of it.

Ironically, the artiste wrote the track three months prior to being involved in a near death car accident, which resulted in him being in a coma.

“For a few days I was definitely in a much better spiritual place that made me aware of a lot of things that concern my life and my future and what I have to do to reach another higher ground. This is like my second chance for life, to do something or to do more and to face the fact that I am alive,” he said.

4. Isn’t She Lovely

Celebrating the birth of his daughter, the track opens with the cry of new-born baby. At the end of the track we hear the musician having a warm moment with is daughter.

“Come on, Aisha. Get out of the water, baby,” he says as she continues to splash.

From the 1976 Key Of Life album, Wonder played almost every instrument except for the keyboard on this track, improvising with the harmonica.

3. Sir Duke

Released in 1976, Wonder wrote this record as a tribute to American composer and jazz bandleader Duke Ellington, who passed away two years prior. Ellington is known to be major influence on the artiste.

The up-tempo track also pays homage to other influential industry great,s including Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie and Sodarisa Miller.

“I knew the title from the beginning but wanted it to be about the musicians who did something for us. So soon they are forgotten. I wanted to show my appreciation. They gave us something that is supposed to be forever. That’s the basic idea of what we do and how we hook it up,” Wonder explained.

2. Signed Sealed Delivered I’m Yours

From the 1970 album of the same name, Signed Sealed Delivered I’m Yours is one where Wonder belts his love for the heart of a woman he did wrong. Realising his mistake, the singer begs to be taken back.

This was the first track he produced on his own at just 20 years old.

1. I Just Called To Say I Love You

This 1980 song from the Woman In Red album, like his hit, Part Time Lover, speaks of love he has for someone else, but in a more genuine and romantic way, professing his love to a special someone.

One of his most popular tracks, this romantic tune is the artiste’s best selling single worldwide.

Bonus Track🎉

Happy Birthday

Of course, in light of Wonder’s very special day, we could not overlook his very own rendition of the Happy Birthday song, which many of you may know, but are not aware of the voice behind the song.

Another track from the Hotter Than July album, this rendition of Happy Birthday was recorded to lobby for Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s January 15 birthday, to be an American national holiday.

Kanye West’s choir singing Stevie Wonder’s rendition of Happy Birthday to Dave Chappelle

Stevie played a huge role in getting the day recognised, helping to organise rallies that was a important event in the movement.

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