Happy Birthday Stevie Wonder

When people ask me what my top 10 favourite albums are , I find it impossible to give a definitive answers, because over the years that has changed. However there are a few albums that will always be in that top 10, ‘Songs in the Key of life’ by Stevie Wonder is one of them.

Stevie Wonder was born Stevland Hardaway Judkins on May 13, 1950, in Saginaw, Michigan. He was born six weeks early with retinopathy of prematurity, an eye disorder which was exacerbated when he received too much oxygen in an incubator, leading to blindness.

When Stevie Wonder was four, his mother divorced his father and moved with her (at the time) three children to Detroit, Michigan, where Wonder sang as a child in a choir at the Whitestone Baptist Church.

He lost his sight as a newborn when he came into the world six weeks early with retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), an eye disorder caused by abnormal blood vessels throughout the retina. Receiving too much oxygen in the incubator likely worsened the condition for the tiny baby, leaving him blind.

Despite growing up in poverty and blind, this didn’t stop Stevie to live a full life and fulfill his dreams. He grew up to become one of the most recognized musicians of the 20th century and he is still active today.

He showed an early gift for music, first with a church choir in Detroit, Michigan, and later with a range of instruments, including the harmonica, piano and drums, all of which he taught himself before age 10.

In 1961, when aged 11, Wonder sang his own composition, “Lonely Boy”, to Ronnie White of the Miracles. White then took Wonder and his mother to an audition at Motown, where CEO Berry Gordy signed Wonder to Motown’s label. Before signing, producer Clarence Paul gave him the name Little Stevie Wonder.

He made his recording debut at age 11, with the album “The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie” including the single “Fingertips” written and composed by Clarence Paul and Henry Cosby.

Lifelong blindness isn’t the only health issue that Wonder has battled. In 1973, he was in a near-death car crash when the sedan he was in collided with a truck. Wonder suffered a head injury and was in a coma for four days.

He has been married three times. First he was married to Motown singer-songwriter and frequent collaborator Syreeta Wright from 1970 until their amicable divorce in 1972. From 2001 until 2012 he was married to fashion designer Kai Millard. In October 2009, Wonder and Millard divorced in August 2012. In 2017 he married Tomeeka Bracy.

Romantically he has been a busy man. He has nine children by five different women. The mother of Wonder’s first child is Yolanda Simmons, whom Wonder met when she applied for a job as secretary for his publishing company. Simmons gave birth to Wonder’s daughter Aisha Morris on February 2, 1975.] After Aisha was born, Wonder said “she was the one thing that I needed in my life and in my music for a long time”.Aisha was the inspiration for Wonder’s hit single “Isn’t She Lovely?”

She is now a singer who has toured with her father and accompanied him on recordings, including his 2005 album A Time to Love. Wonder and Simmons also had a son, Keita, in 1977.

Stevie Wonder has been given a range of awards, both for his music and for his civil rights work, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Civil Rights Museum, being named one of the United Nations Messengers of Peace, and earning a Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in 2014.

In December 2016, the City of Detroit recognized Wonder’s legacy by renaming a portion of his childhood street, Milwaukee Avenue West, between Woodward Avenue and Brush Street, as “Stevie Wonder Avenue”. He was also awarded an honorary key to the city, presented by Mayor Mike Duggan.

He has won 25 Grammy Awards, as well as a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996. He is one of only two artists and groups who have won the Grammy for Album of the Year three times as the main credited artist, along with Frank Sinatra. Wonder is the only artist to have won the award with three consecutive album releases.

Stevie Wonder has always been an inspiration to me especially in more recent times. In 2011 I lost my right eye and in 2015 I nearly lost my left eye too, luckily they were able to safe it , but for about 6 months I was blind.

Finishing up with one of my favourite tracks of the aforementioned album ‘Songs in the Key of Life” “Sir Duke”.

“Music is a world within itself
With a language we all understand
With an equal opportunity
For all to sing, dance and clap their hands”

Happy Birthday Stevie

sources

https://www.biography.com/musician/stevie-wonder

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2012/aug/30/stevie-wonder-blind-black-disadvantage

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If I Should Die Tonight

If Elvis is the King of Rock N Roll, and Robert Johnson is the King of the Blues, then Marvin Gaye must be the King of Soul.

The title “If I should die Tonight” is from a track of Marvin Gaye’s 13th studio album “Let’s Get It On” which was released on August 28, 1973. I thought it would be an appropriate title because today marks the 37th anniversary of his death.

When I heard the news on the radio on April 1, 1984 that Marvin Gaye had died and had been killed by his father , I thought it was an April Fools’ day joke. However it quickly emerged that this was not the case.

Marvin Gaye was shot by his Father Marvin Gaye Sr, a Christian preacher. Marvin was shot three times following an altercation with his father after he had intervened in an argument between his parents. The wounds were fatal and he was pronounced dead on arrival at the California Hospital Medical Center.

Despite being successful Marvin struggled badly with the substance abuse and also episodes of depression which had plagued him for most of his life. After his last tour, he moved into his parents’ house. There he and his father regularly had fights and quarrels. Marvin had a bitter relationship with his father, which had been the case since childhood . On April 1, 1984, Marvin Gaye Sr. shot and killed his son after a physical altercation; the father claimed he acted in self-defense but would later be convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

In the days prior to his killing , Marvin’s parents had arguments mainly over a misplaced insurance policy letter.[16] The day before his death, the arguments spread to Gaye’s bedroom. Angered by his father confronting his mother, Gaye commanded Marvin Sr. to leave her alone. Marvin Sr did leave without any further arguments or altercation.

However at 12.30 PM on April 1, the arguments between Marvin Sr and his wife had flared up again. Marvin Jr shouted downstairs, telling his father if he had something to say, he should do it in person.

Eight minutes later Marvin Sr went up with a .38 pistol, aimed it at his son and shot him 3 times. The 1st shot had already been fatal.

Marvin Gaye was killed a day before his 45th birthday, actually less then 12 hours before his birthday.

His death had all the hallmarks of a Greek tragedy. VH1 listed Gaye’s death as the eighth most shocking moment in music history. Marvin Gaye was not just a great singer, he had a very distinctive voice which was immediately recognizable , only few singers possess that talent.

There have been many tribute songs about Marvin Gaye. I will only posting 2 of them.

Finishing up with the Great man himself

If I should die tonight
Though it seems far before my time
I won’t die blue
‘Cause I’ve known you

sources

https://www.biography.com/musician/marvin-gaye

https://www.smoothradio.com/artists/marvin-gaye/marvin-gaye-death-father-explained/

Happy Birthday Diana Ross

Diana Ross (born March 26, 1944) is an American singer and actress. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, she rose to fame as the lead singer of the vocal group The Supremes, who became Motown’s most successful act during the 1960s and one of the world’s best-selling girl groups of all time. They remain the best-charting female group in US history.

Following departure from the Supremes in 1970, Ross embarked on a highly successful, globally ground-breaking solo career in music, television, film and stage.

Happily ever now- My interview with Sandra Mae Lux

Music suits the savage beast and when you have a very talented and skillful musician playing great music it can really lift your heart.

This is my interview with Sandra Mae Lux about her album Happily ever now.

Enjoy, there is a nice Christmas treat at the end.

Two Pop Icons, two deaths, two different legacies.

colonel abrams

A little known  Minneapolis-based funk group formed in December 1975 called ’94 East’ lost two of its former members in 2016. Both of them were iconic in the 80s but one of them became a megastar, where the other one died homeless.

The two were  Prince and Colonel Abrams(picture above)

prince

 

Colonel Abrams(which was his real name), a musical pioneer who helped bring house into the mainstream mainly known for his hit single “Trapped” died on Thanksgiving, November 24, 2016. In 2015  some of his friends launched a crowdfunding campaign in order to help Abrams gain access to diabetes medication and get him off the streets.

His career involved being a part of various different bands, including 94 East which at one point had Prince on guitar, but it split when Prince became a solo star.

prince solo

Prince who became one of the biggest artists of the 20th century and remained a musical power house until the day he died on April 21,2016, 7 months before Colonel Abrams.

Two men with two different legacies, each death though was a tragedy. Although Prince’s legacy has grown even after his death,Colonel Abrams’s has all but disappeared.

Ending the blog with a song that featured them both.

What’s going on-The night Soul Music died.

Marvin_Gaye_(1973)

When you think of the cool sounds of Motown one of the first names that comes up in your mind is Marvin Gaye. He made the Soul Music sexy again. Marvin first discovered his musical talent and passion by singing in his father’s church.

Unfortunately not every one liked what he was doing, his father Marvin Gay, Sr was one of those people.

On April 1, 1984, Marvin was fatally shot by his father in their Los Angeles home. On the day of the murder, Marvin and Marvin Sr were arguing about a misplaced insurance policy document,one day short of his 45th birthday.

gaye31a-3-web

In the days prior to his death, Marvin’s parents had arguments mainly over a misplaced insurance policy letter.The day before his death, the arguments spread to Marvin’s bedroom. Angered by his father confronting his mother, Marvin commanded Marvin Sr. to leave her alone; Gay Sr. complied without incident and there was no violence that night, but Gay Sr. continued yelling throughout the house.

If the physical cause of Marvin Gaye’s death was straightforward—”Gunshot wound to chest perforating heart, lung and liver,” according to the Los Angeles County Coroner—the events that led to it were much more tangled.

Marvin_gaye_death_cert

On the one hand, there was the longstanding conflict with his father dating back to childhood. Marvin Gay, Sr., (the “e” was added by his son for his stage name) was a preacher in the Hebrew Pentecostal Church and a proponent of a strict moral code he enforced brutally with his four children. He was also, by all accounts, a hard-drinking cross-dresser who personally embodied a rather complicated model of morality. By some reports, Marvin Sr. harbored significant envy over his son’s tremendous success, and Marvin Jr. clearly harbored unresolved feelings toward his abusive father.

At 12:38 p.m. on April 1, 1984, while Gaye was in his bedroom, his father Marvin Gay Sr. shot Gaye in the heart and then in his left shoulder, the latter shot taken at point-blank range. Minutes earlier, the two men had been involved in a physical altercation when Gaye intervened in a fight between his parents. The first shot proved to be fatal. Gaye was pronounced dead at 1:01 p.m.  after his body arrived at California Hospital Medical Center.

After Gaye’s funeral, his body was cremated at Forest Lawn Memorial Park at the Hollywood Hills; his ashes were later scattered into the Pacific Ocean. Initially charged with first-degree murder, Gay Sr.’s charges dropped to voluntary manslaughter following a diagnosis of a brain tumor.

Marvinsdad

Marvin Gay Sr. was later sentenced to a suspended six-year sentence and probation. He died at a nursing home in 1998.

Amy murder case is sad but the fact this was between a Father and a son makes it even more of a tragedy.

Although Marvin Gaye died at a young age his musical legacy will last for generations to come.

R-359107-1471882045-7161.jpeg

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Sources

History.com

Crime Museum