4. Everyting Will Be Alright
However, Uptight (Everything's Alright)
changed that story a bit and every year thereafter, in the sixties, Stevie had hit records. Much
of this success had to do with the new song writing team of 15 year
old Stevie along with Henry Cosby and Sylvia Moy.
Stevie always liked to write and several things influenced his writing.
I was greatly influenced by radio.
Detroit had the best cross section of music, different cultures, etc.
album showed a more personal side of Stevie. It embraced
many of his influences such as the soulful moods of Sam Cooke to a
cover of Bob Dylan's Blowin' in the Wind.
The single Uptight
returned Stevie to the top of the US R&B chart,
while placing at #3 on the pop chart. It was his first single to
enter the UK singles chart, where it peaked at #14. Other singles
from the albums were
Nothing's to Good For My Baby
and Blowin' in
Six months later saw the release of Stevie's next album
Down To Earth.
The first single culled from it, being the optimistic
A Place In The Sun
that placed well in the top US pop and R&B charts as well as
returning Stevie to the UK top 20.
At 17, Stevie met a girl named Angie and fell in love. The melody
and music for I Was Made To Love Her
came from that experience.
Sylvia Moy wrote incredible lyrics to that song. It was a vigorously
exciting track, with a compelling dance beat, an inspiring James
Jamerson bass line and Stevie's racing vocals.
The single shot to #1 on the R&B chart and #2 on the pop charts. It
was Stevie's first top ten UK hit where it peaked at #5. The album I
Was made To Love Her
was produced by Hank Cosby and released in
August 1967. It was a pot-pourri of interesting sounds, appealing to
a wider audience than his previous works. I was a sign of things to
come in the not too distant future.
By the end of the year, Motown was ready to put out a Stevie Wonder
Christmas album containing a combination of festive favourites
complimented by some in-house original compositions. It was
customary for Motown to release Christmas albums for its leading
stars to cash in on the seasonal event. In addition it would almost
annually bring out compilation of various permutations and
combinations from these albums.
1968 Stevie graduated with honours from the Michigan School for the
Blind thus enabling him to now spend more time developing his music.
Ted Hull his personal tutor for the last 5 years stayed on with
Stevie for another year until he was 19.
In March the single
was released and shot
to #1 on the R&B charts and top 10 in the pop charts. However as the
single climbed the charts, sad news rocked the nation, news that
would affect Stevie for many years to come and encourage him in the
future to embark in a national crusade. Dr. Martin Luther, civil
rights leader, was assisinated in Memphis, Tennessee, as he prepared
to lead a march of workers protesting against unfair treatment by
March 1968, Motown felt it was about time they put together a
Greatest Hits package. The album included his hits so far in
addition to the song,
It was his first album to enter the UK album charts.
album in the charts Stevie rose to the
challenge of a suggestion by Berry Gordy that he record an
instrumental version of the Bacharach/David song
Alfie. The project
taken over by Hank Cosby as producer eventually grew into a full
fledged album. To avoid confusion with Stevie's current work it was
decided to release the album under the pseudonym Eivets Rednow,
which is Stevie Wonder spelt backwards. On the album were 4 songs
written by Stevie. He played most of the instruments including
piano, drums, various keyboards and all the percussion.
The self-titled album,
never really took off, most likely because of the unknown artist
name and lack of conviction on Motown's part.
Later that year Stevie heard
For Once In My Life. Not knowing that
it was a Jobete/Motown song he went to Motown with suggesting that
he do a cover.
Even though it was a ballad and I loved it as that, I felt the tune
could be done in the form of rejoicing in meeting someone who needed
me. I was excited and recorded it that way.
It was release as a single a month before the album shipped. The
single reached #2 in the US and provided Stevie with his highest UK
position on the charts - #3.
The album when released contained 2 previous singles
and You Met Your Match. It showed a growth in Stevie's music and
his venturing into the realm of production with the tracks
and I Don't Know Why (I Love You). The latter track was
arguably the best track on the album, a hard-edged emotional
declaration of love. It was released as the next single, with
on the flipside. The top title though only reached #14
in UK and #16 in the US R&B charts. However it was the B-side that
attracted major attention from the radio deejays. The song did not
make it onto the last album, though Stevie had written it two years
previously. Stevie says that the song was personal,
I wrote it when
when I was sixteen after me and my sweetheart broke up. It took me
thirty minutes to write and was initially titled My Marsha, but
Sylvia (Moy) came up with the revised title.
The song did not conform to the standard Motown formula and hence
the powers that be never felt it appropriate for release.
Now sensing a possible hit with
My Cherie Amour
based on public exposure, Motown flipped it to the A side, a move
that proved successful. This resulted in the single reaching #4 in
both in both US charts and in the UK.
As expected, an album was hastily compiled, titled
My Cherie Amour
and released in August 1969. It contained many standard songs such
as, Light My Fire, The Shadow Of Your Smile
and Hello Young Lovers,
which Stevie capably handled. He matched these with four of his own
compositions. Also on the album was
Yeter-Me Yester-You Yesterday
destined to be his next single, a song that would peak at #2 in the
UK, his biggest hit there, and placing in the US top ten.
By the end of the year Stevie was invited to the White House by
President Nixon to receive the Distinguished Service Award.
During the last few years, although working on songs for himself he
also wrote sons for many other Motown artists, including Smokey
Robinson, Marvin Gaye, The Contours and the Four Tops.