Tuesday, August 27, 2013
From "Little" To Mega-Superstar
When Stevie Wonder took the stage to perform a concert at Vanderbilt our senior year (in Memorial Gym I believe) he was barely a year older than most of us (born May 13, 1950). But as a child prodigy, he had been a Motown star since 1963, when he debuted as "Little Stevie Wonder" with a number one album (RECORDED LIVE: THE 12 YEAR OLD GENIUS) and a number one single (FINGERTIPS (Pt2).
By the time of his Vanderbilt appearance we were fortunate enough to see Wonder just as he was growing from "little" to the mega superstar of the 1970s-80-90s and today with more than 30 Top Ten hits and 22 Grammy Awards, the most ever awarded to a male solo artist.
It's was Wonder's 1972 TALKING BOOK Album that was likely rising up both the album and singles charts when we saw him in concert. That includes two number one hits. First, "SUPERSTITION."Here's how he performed it on, of all TV shows, SEASAME STREET in April, 1973. I sure none of us watched that childrens' show in those days, but little did we know how often our children would watch it in the years to come......
A second number hit for Stevie Wonder off his TALKING BOOK album was "YOU ARE THE SUNSHINE OF MY LIFE." Here it is a more normal live concert setting from back in the day during a live concert in London in 1974....
If you have any kind of interest at all in the backstories on how some of the great music we enjoyed during our era came about, as well as the great artists who created them, we have an extra special treat for you at the beginning of our 40th Reunion Weekend on Friday, October 4.
On Friday afternoon, October 4 from 2:30 until 3:30 P.M. in the Rand Function Room (where the Class of 1973 will have our party that evening) Vanderbilt Vice-Chancellor David Williams will present: MOTOWN MUSIC & ITS INFLUENCERS. A tease on the Reunion web site says: "Music of the Motown era including tunes from Memphis, Chicago and Philadelphia (along with) stories about the songs and those who created them."
Vice-Chancellor Williams, who grew up in the Motown area of Detroit, made a similar presentation five years ago, and it's just wonderful. It's worth coming to town early for Reunion just to be there and see and hear what he has to say about this special brand of American music.
Oh, I am sure the Vice-Chancellor (who is also Vanderbilt's athlectic director) will happy to discuss and answer your questions about the true sports renaissance and success the University is experiencing throughout all its athletic programs under his leadership.
It's not just for Motown that David Williams is THE MAN on campus these days!