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Charles L. Hughes

singer, songwriter, and politician, was one of four children born to J. T. and Alveria Butler, in Sunflower, Mississippi. The Butlers, a Mississippi sharecropping family, moved to Chicago in 1942, where they lived in the Cabrini-Green Housing Projects. J. T. Butler worked a variety of jobs to support his family until his death in 1953, and, following his passing, relatives and friends moved in to help the family make ends meet. Jerry, active in the Church of God in Christ (COGIC), soon became known around his community for his musical ability and rich baritone voice, and he quickly began performing as a gospel artist with friends and fellow COGIC members. One of Jerry's friends, a prodigious musician and songwriter named Curtis Mayfield would soon join Butler in a singing group called the Roosters The group subsequently changed its name to the Impressions Signing to Vee Jay Records ...


Timothy J. O'Brien

musician. The musical prodigy who became known as Stevie Wonder was born Steveland Hardaway Judkins in Saginaw, Michigan. He went blind shortly after his birth, and he was raised by his mother, Lula Hardaway, along with his five siblings after her husband Calvin Judkins left them. The family moved to Detroit in 1954, where they struggled to survive. He attended public schools in the east side ghetto, sang in his church's choir, and learned to play piano, harmonica, and drums by age ten.

Berry Gordy, the owner of Motown records, signed him when he was only ten after he was discovered by Ronnie White of the Miracles. Gordy renamed him “Little Stevie Wonder” and released his first two albums in 1962, neither of which sold well. His third album, a live release titled Recorded Live: The 12 Year Old Genius yielded a hit single ...


David Brackett

(b Saginaw, MI, May 13, 1950). American singer, songwriter, keyboard player, harmonica player and drummer. Blind shortly after birth due to receiving too much oxygen from an incubator, he was brought to the attention of Berry Gordy, the owner of Motown Records who signed him to Tamla records (a subsidiary of Motown), at the age of ten. Wonder displayed his prodigious abilities as a multi-instrumentalist and singer from the start of his career, and had a major hit with the live recording, Fingertips, Pt. 2 (1963) at the age of 13. He did not repeat the success until he emerged from adolescence with Uptight (1966), which featured the manic vocal intensity over a driving dance track that was to become a trademark in other hits from the period 1966–70, including I was made to love her (1967 ...


Andy Gensler

songwriter, singer, multi-instrumentalist, producer, and political activist, was born Steveland Judkins in Saginaw, Michigan, to Calvin Judkins and Lula Mae Hardaway, who separated early in his life. Steveland came into the world with the odds stacked firmly against him; he was poor, black, and born two months premature with a birth weight barely reaching four pounds. He spent his first fifty-two days in an incubator, resulting in the permanent loss of his eyesight. Stevie was raised largely by his mother under difficult economic and social circumstances. Calvin, a street hustler, forced his wife to work as a prostitute for a short period before the family moved from Saginaw to Detroit's Brewster Housing Projects in 1953. The couple separated shortly thereafter.

Despite his hardscrabble upbringing Stevie never thought himself disadvantaged With unwavering optimism he compensated for his impairment by developing his other senses ...


Robert Fay

Stevie Wonder was born Steveland Morris in Saginaw, Michigan. Wonder is one of the most prolific and inventive artists in American popular music and Rhythm and Blues. Blind since birth, Wonder was first introduced to music as a young child and quickly developed musical skills beyond his years. At age twelve he was discovered by Ronnie White of The Miracles and won an audition at the Motown Record Company in Detroit, Michigan. When Motown's founder, Berry Gordy, witnessed the young boy's startling talents, he dubbed him “Little Stevie Wonder.” Wonder was quickly adopted into the Motown “family” at Hitsville Studios. He charmed everyone with his prodigious musical range and lively sense of humor. Although he played the drums, piano, and organ, Wonder's first number-one hit, “Fingertips, Part 2” (1963 featured his exceptional skill on the harmonica which became a trademark of his early career More hits ...