The first definitive biography of music legend Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder’s achievements as a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer are extraordinary. During a career that has spanned almost fifty years, he has earned more than thirty Top 10 hits, twenty-six Grammy Awards, and a place in both the Rock and Roll and Songwriter Halls of Fame—and he’s not finished yet. On the verge of turning sixty, he is still composing, still touring, and still attracting dedicated fans around the world.
For the first time, Signed, Sealed, and Delivered takes an in-depth look at Stevie Wonder’s life and his evolution from kid-soul pop star into a mature artist whose music helped lay the groundwork for the evolution of hip hop and rap.
Explores the life, achievements, and influence of one of America’s biggest musical icons, set against the history of Motown and the last fifty years of popular music
Based on extensive interviews with Motown producers, music executives, songwriters, and musicians, including founding Temptation Otis Williams, Mickey Stevenson, surviving Funk Brother Eddie Willis, synthesizer genius Malcolm Cecil, guitar legend Michael Sembello, and many others
Traces Stevie’s personal and musical development through the decades, from the early 1960s R&B of “Fingertips” to the social and political themes of “Living for the City” and other 1970s classics, through periods of musical and personal confusion, uncertainty, and, later, renewal
Read Signed, Sealed, and Delivered to explore the life and work of one of pop music’s most compelling masters of invention.
From Publishers Weekly
From the rollicking debut of Fingertips—Part 2 to the funk piano and synthesizers of Superstition to the political rap of Superstition, Stevie Wonder’s brilliant music has managed to capture the hearts of his listeners while at the same time probing the limits of musical styles and moving soul and rhythm and blues to new musical levels. Born in poverty in Saginaw, Mich., Wonder lost his sight soon after he was born. His blindness heightened his sense of hearing, and he soon began to master the toy musical instruments that his absentee father brought him. Very soon, Wonder graduated from toys to the real things: his barber gave him a Hohner chromatic harmonica; his church choir director, as well as his neighbor, allowed him to play for hours on their pianos; and the local Lions Club gave a drum set to Stevie after hearing him play it. Soon Wonder was the hit of Motown, and his career took off like a comet, only to burn out and lose some of its fiery glow in the 1980s and 1990s. Music journalist Ribowsky (The Supremes; He’s a Rebel) traces the rapid ascent of Wonder’s musical career as well as the tumultuous ups and downs of his personal life in this workmanlike and pedantic book. Ribowsky’s exploration of Wonder’s music is first-rate, but his tendency to overlook Wonder’s faults turns this into one fan’s hagiography. (May)
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About the Author
MARK RIBOWSKY is the New York Times Notable author of The Supremes: A Saga of Motown Dreams, Success, and Betrayal; He’s a Rebel: Phil Spector—Rock and Roll’s Legendary Producer; and Don’t Look Back: Satchel Paige in the Shadows of Baseball. He has written for Sport magazine and Inside Sport, was a staff writer for TV Guide, and has been a semi-regular contributor to Playboy and Penthouse. Mr. Ribowsky has been a guest on Dateline NBC, Primetime Live (ABC), Connie Chung, Geraldo Rivera, The Tavis Smiley Show, and many other network and cable TV shows.