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2. Everybody Say Yeah

Motown Hitsville USAStevie was 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 Fingertips. 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.

Originally, Fingertips 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 Detroit. 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 Billboard chart.
Stevie Wonder
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.

As 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.

Stevie Wonder and Motown starsAs 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.

I 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.