Stevie Wonder’s Stunning Announcement! His Trilogy Of Grammy Gold! “Innervisions”, “Songs In The Key Of Life” And “Fulfillingness’ First Finale”!

Stevie Wonder stunned fans by announcing that he will undergo a kidney transplant later this year.

The 69-year-old music legend disclosed the news to a concert crowd in London on Saturday night, the BBC reported.

He says there is a donor lined up, and the operation will take place in the fall. I will keep everyone updated as the date nears…and I wanted to celebrate his music by focusing on one of the most creative periods in his life!

Celebrating Stevie Wonder’s Trilogy Of Grammy Gold!

One Artist in the 1970’s released three albums in a row – and ALL OF THEM won The Grammy For Album Of The Year!

Who else could have had this run of brilliant music but the visionary Musical Genius Stevie Wonder!

Stevie Wonder is currently tied with Frank Sinatra as the solo artist with the most GRAMMY wins for Album Of The Year with three. But Stevie did it with three albums in a row!

Blind since shortly after his birth, Wonder was a child prodigy known as Little Stevie Wonder, and he signed with Motown’s Tamla label at the age of 11. In 1963, his single “Fingertips” was the No. 1 hit on the US Billboard Hot 100 – and made him the younger Artist ever to have a #1 hit – he was 13 years old!

Of course, he has had more hits can you can count, but there was his”classic period”, which resulted in those 3 consecutive Grammy Awards.

Let’s take a look at these three musical masterpieces, beginning in 1973 with this album:

Innervisions!

This album was released in 1973 and incredibly, was already Wonder’s 16th studio album!

The nine tracks tackle themes and issues like drug abuse in “Too High”, and his searing look at racism in the brilliant song “Living for the City”:

The lyrics are stark and timely:

A boy is born in hard time Mississippi
Surrounded by four walls that ain’t so pretty
His parents give him love and affection
To keep him strong movin’ in the right direction
Living just enough, just enough for the city
His father works some days for fourteen hours
And you can bet he barely makes a dollar
His mother goes to scrub the floors for many
And you’d best believe she hardly gets a penny
Living just enough, just enough for the city
His sister’s black but she is sure not pretty
Her skirt is short but, Lord, her legs are sturdy
To walk to school she’s got to get up early
Her clothes are old but never are they dirty
Living just enough, just enough for the city
Her brother’s smart, he’s got more sense than many
His patience’s long but soon he won’t have any
To find a job is like a haystack needle
‘Cause where he lives they don’t use colored people
Living just enough, just enough for the city

Here is a live performance by Wonder from 1974:

Wonder’s beautiful songwriting is in display in the ballads “All in Love Is Fair” and “Golden Lady”.

Another classic Wonder song is here: “Don’t You Worry ’bout A Thing”, and I’ve always loved it because it begins this way:

The opening melody is reminiscent of Horace Silver’s “Song For My Father” over which Stevie engages in an English dialogue with a woman, trying to impress her with talk of worldliness of having been to “Iraq, Iran” and a made-up place he calls “Ukraingia,” before changing to Spanish, using the phrase “Todo estรก bien chรฉvere”, which loosely translates as “Everything’s really great,” continuing with an attempt to impress the woman.

It’a funny, fresh open to another classic Wonder song, leading to the album’s closing track, “He’s Misstra Know-It-All”, a scathing attack on President Richard Nixon.

“Innervisions” is a masterpiece and in 2003, the album was ranked number 23 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time…

Then, A Tragedy….

Three days after the album’s release, on August 6, 1973, Wonder played a concert in Greenville, South Carolina.

As wikipedia reports on what happened after the show:

“Wonder was asleep in the front seat of a car being driven by his friend, John Harris, when they were snaking along the road, behind a truck loaded high with logs. Suddenly the trucker jammed on his brakes, and the two vehicles collided. Logs went flying, and one smashed through the wind shield, sailing squarely into Stevie Wonder’s forehead. He was bloody and unconscious when he was pulled from the wrecked car. For four days he lay in a coma caused by severe brain contusion, causing media attention and the preoccupation of relatives, friends and fans.”

Yes, incredibly, Wonder came back with a new album the next year!

Fullfillingness’ First Finale!

Yes, the very next year, Wonder released “Fulfillingness’ First Finale”, which was his first album to top Billboard’s pop charts!

Why? Because of massive hits like “Boogie On Reggie Woman” and “You Haven’t Done Nothin'” where he is backed by The Jackson Five – and it’s another searing indictment of President Nixon:


“We are amazed but not amused
By all the things you say that you’ll do
Though much concerned but not involved
With decisions that are made by you
But we are sick and tired of hearing your song
Telling how you are gonna change right from wrong
‘Cause if you really want to hear our views
“You haven’t done nothing”!
It’s not too cool to be ridiculed
But you brought this upon yourself
The world is tired of pacifiers
We want the truth and nothing else, yeh
And we are sick and tired of hearing your song
Telling how you are gonna change right from wrong
‘Cause if you really want to hear our views
“You haven’t done nothing”!
Jackson 5 join along with me say
Doo doo wop, hey hey hey
Doo doo wop, whoa whoa whoa”

Here is Wonder performing the song live on TV in 1974:

“Fulfillingness’ First Finale” won Grammy Awards for Best Male Pop Vocal, Best Male Rhythm and Blues Vocal Performance (for “Boogie On Reggae Woman”), and of course, was Album of the Year in 1974.

Two albums in a row, two Grammy Awards for Album Of The Year…what could top that? Perhaps his great album ever!


Songs In The Key Of Life!

Wonder came back 2 years later with a massive double album, which also included a four-song bonus EP!

“Songs in the Key of Life” is a masterpiece, pure and simple – not only because of all of the huge hits included, like “Isn’t She Lovely”, “I Wish” and “Sir Duke”, but because of such influential songs as “Pastime Paradise”, which was heavily sampled by Coolio on his song “Gangsta’s Paradise.” In fact, when I played this album for someone, they were stunned to know that Wonder wrote the song!

“Songs” became the best-selling and most critically acclaimed album of Wonder’s career. In 2005, it was inducted into the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress, which deemed it “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

One of the best songs is “I Wish”, a look back at his years growing up – and I was lucky enough to see Wonder performing the album in its entirety live in Chicago

Here is Wonder performing “I Wish”:

Wonder was so prolific that he also included a bonus EP, with 4 more songs like the classic “Saturn”, which I saw him perform live as well:

Wonder took home 4 Grammys for his “Songs”: Album of the Year, Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and Producer of the Year as well…

As I said, I was lucky enough to see Stevie Wonder perform the “Key Of Life” album in its entirety – here is a look at the concert and a couple of additional live clips as well:


https://johnrieber.com/2014/11/15/songs-in-the-key-of-life-stevie-wonders-masterpiece-live/

Let me know if you own these albums, and if not, now is the time to ask Alexa to play them for you!



Categories: 70's Music, Art, Awards, Music, Politics, Pop Culture, Talent/Celebrities, Uncategorized

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20 replies

  1. A great tribute to a fabulous artist… Sad to hear about his planned transplant but I am sure he will be fine…

  2. Fabulous tribute to the Boy Wonder, John. I’d heard about his upcoming transplant. I know he’ll be fine. He has to be. And those 3 of his gold albums are still my alltime favs from him. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks for commenting and sharing! He is a national treasure to be sure, and what an incredible run of albums – before and after as well!

      • Absolutely. Well, I had a hard time sharing to FB. Both sharing from your blog and Sally’s, the popup came up that this was unsuitable content. FB sucks! But no worries, I went the long way round and got it up there. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Thanks for the tenacity! I have NO idea why Facebook will let me share a link but NOT the actual post itself – I haven’t figured out why they started to do that, but appreciate you taking the time to work around it!

      • Welcome John. Me and Sally have had our share of FB sharing woes. I still have writer friends who can’t post at all, can’t share anything from their pages, and some who are sent to FB jail from crimes of which they have no clue! That’s why some of us opened accounts on Mewe. We’re preparing for the eventual move from FB, so glad you’re there with us already. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • We’re delighted! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Wow, I do enjoy Stevie Wonders music and it is incredibly sad that he is ill. A kidney transplant is a massive thing. I didn’t even know about his car accident. I need to read the tabloids more.

  4. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord Blog Magazine and commented:
    With the news this week that Legendary Stevie Wonder will be having a kidney transplant later this year, John Rieber celebrates his music..

  5. Thanks for sharing, great music. Which song is your favorite?

  6. Great choices, John. I had all of those, and also the cassette tapes, so I could play them in the car. I played the cassette of ‘Innervisions’ so much, it got slack, and unwound from the spool. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Best wishes, Pete.

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