STEVIE WONDER: A Musical Guide to the Classic AlbumsSTEVE LODDER Book Number: 93033 Product format: Paperback
Stevie Wonder was the name given to the multitalented blind 12-year old when he signed up with Motown records in 1962. Born to a mother Lula who was in an abusive relationship, Stevie's childhood took a turn for the better when Lula found the strength to walk out and move to Detroit. Stevie could pick up any instrument quickly and was soon performing as a child prodigy around the Blues scene. After an uncertain start, Motown's live recording of "Fingertips" hit the big time. The invasion of the Beatles in 1963 changed the American music scene, and the Beatles themselves borrowed Motown songs such as "Please Mr Postman". Stevie's next international breakthrough "Uptight (everything's Alright)" was influenced by the Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction", with more of a pop sensibility. Lodder suggests that the highly individual "runaround from snare to toms" means that Stevie was behind the drum kit. With this song, as with Stevie's other classic albums of the 70s, Lodder provides a detailed analysis of how the sound is created and pinpoints innovative elements. "Uptight" reached no 1 in the US R&B charts, 14 in the UK, and Stevie's next release replicated the same drum pattern. A cover of Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind" reflected Stevie's growing politicalisation. The unrest in the Detroit motor industry led to riots in 1967, and the assassination the following year of Martin Luther King marked the end of a golden era at Motown. Stevie's next hits were influenced by the Beatles, combined with the ambiguity of major and minor keys that characterises the Blues tradition. Lodder proceeds to a musical analysis of Stevie's five great albums from the seventies, with a postscript discussing his work between 1979 and 2005, and there are chapters on his development both as a pop artist and jazz musician. 240pp, softback, black and white photos.
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