2. Everybody Say Yeah
signed with Motown for almost two years before his career launching recording
Fingertips Part 2
recorded live, took the public by storm. Stevie had recorded three
singles and one album prior to
His first single,
I Call It Pretty Music
But The Old People Call It The Blues,
sold well locally and in the South. His second single,
Little Water Boy
written by Clarence Paul and Stevie himself didn't do too well. This
was followed by a third single,
Contract On Love,
written by Lamont Dozier and it did well locally and regionally in
Ohio and Pennsylvania.
was done on an album called
The Jazz Soul Of
Little Stevie. It featured Thomas 'Bean' Bowles on flute, Marvin
Gaye on drums and piano, Stevie played drums on one cut, Joe
Messina, Robert White, James Jamerson on bass, Benny Benjamin on
drums, Joe Hunter on piano and Earl Van Dyke on organ. This gave the
Motown musicians a chance to play like they did in the clubs of
After recording Fingertips in the key
of G, we decided to change the key to C and that's when the
excitement started. Audience participation happened on the road with
"Everybody Say Yeah" and it stuck.
The ad-libbing by Little Stevie, both vocally and on the harmonica,
together with his exuberant stage presence is what transformed the
song into the hit it turned out to be. Fingertips Part 2 was the
first recording whose single and album became #1 simultaneously on
The summer of 1963 and the remainder of the year offered nothing but
success for Little Stevie Wonder. There were many who felt that
success at such a young age would spoil Little Stevie Wonder.
far as a large ego is concerned, many people felt that I was getting
too much too soon, but I didn't realize that it was all happening. I
just enjoyed singing. Sometime when it was time for an interview or
rehearsal, I asked for candy. I just wanted to go play or have a few
cookies and candy, I didn't care about interviews, I wanted to do
other things. That might have made some feel that I was a brat, but
not true, just a normal kid.
Motown controlled everything from the artists stage movements to
their concert bookings and the copyrights of their songs. Many of
the performers were straight from the street and unschooled in
finance. Unlike most white performers, they had no lawyers to
negotiate their contracts, and they accepted without question the
royalties they received. Stevie's royalties were kept in trust for
him by a state-appointed guardian until he was twenty-one.
Little Stevie Wonder became more and more popular, more and more
problems developed. Scholastically, things were not working out.
I could not keep up my regular studies at school as it became
necessary to go on the road. There was no person qualified to tutor
me in my studies while on tour. Because of this, my teachers told me
that I should stop pursuing music and continue my education until I
was 19 years old. They informed me that legally they could keep me
in school until that time. I went in the bathroom and cried and
prayed that God would allow me to remain in the industry, but I just
knew it was impossible. One of my teachers told me that I had three
strikes against me that must be considered.
was poor, black and blind. I should buckle down and try to forget
about music, realistically, there would be nothing for an uneducated
blind man to do but make rugs and pot holders.