At The Close Of A Century is a box with four CD's and
a booklet telling the story of Stevland Morris, with photos and a discography.
Born prematurely in 1950, he is better known as Stevie Wonder. He is blind - it
probably happened shortly after he was born as a result of having received too
much oxygen in the hospital incubator. "A girl who was born that same day
was also put into the incubator and she died", Stevie Wonder once
explained. "I personally think I'm lucky to be alive."
As always, "best of" collections are a must - not only for
fans. This box is no exception. It documents the career of the little boy from
Saginaw, Michigan, who listened to WCHB, a local blues and R&B radio
station playing Jesse Belvin, B.B. King, La Vern Baker and Bobby Bland. As a
teenager, he formed a duo with a partner named John Glover and they
entertained the neighborhood with their renditions of fifties hits like Why
Do Fools Fall In Love. One day, a big brother named Ronnie White listened
to him - he happened to be a member of a group called Smokey Robinson and The
Miracles. Ronnie White made Berry Gordy, the Motown founder, listen to the
eleven year-old blind kid. People already thought he could be another Ray
Charles - and they proved to be right. Berry Gordy said: "Boy! That kid's
a wonder", and the name stuck.
But it took Stevie Wonder two years to have his first hit in
the summer of 1963: Fingertips (Part 2), "an exuberant harmonica
jam recorded live." The album was also a hit. But for another two years,
nothing happened, until the release of Uptight (Everything's Alright),
which became a number one R&B hit and reached number three in the pop
in November 1965 .
From then on, one hit followed the other: Blowin' In The Wind (1966), I
Was Made To Love Her (1967). The rest is history.