Wednesday, October 3, 2012

WHAT TO DO WITH 'LITTLE' STEVIE WONDER . .


U p t i g h t  .  .
 
BERRY GORDY
 
 
That's how some might have described Berry Gordy in 1965.
 
The founder of Motown Records was lamenting over just what to do with an artist he'd signed back in 1961.
 
 
'LITTLE' STEVIE WONDER
 
"Little" Stevie Wonder had been 9 years old at the time he signed on to Gordy's Tamla label, and he'd made good in '63 when a live recording of 'Fingertips Pt. 2' reached the coveted No. 1 spot on the U.S. Billboard Charts.
 
 
But Wonder's subsequent releases had failed to chart so impressively, and with his voice changing (due to puberty), Gordy was seriously considering dropping the poor little blind boy from the label.
 
At the last minute fate intervened in the form of Sylvia Moy.

SYLVIA MOY
 
 
A Motown producer, Moy put forth a proposition to Gordy:
 
If she were able to produce a hit record with Wonder, would he be willing to keep him on?
 
His answer was 'yes', and the result was the gloriously infectious hit, 'Uptight.'
 
 

'Uptight' peaked at #3 on the Pop Charts in '66.


TO LISTEN TO 'UPTIGHT' click on this link:
 
The song possesses amazing energy and great lyrics:
 
Baby, ev'rything is all right, uptight, out of sight.
Baby, ev'rything is all right, uptight, out of sight.

I'm a poorman's son, from across the railroad tracks,
The only shirt I own is here on my back,
But I'm the envy of ev'ry single guy
Cause I'm the apple of my girl's eye.
When we go out stepping on the town for a while
My money's low and my suit's out of style,
But it's all right if my clothes aren't new
Out of sight because my heart is true.

She says baby ev'rything is alright, uptight, out of sight.
Baby, ev'rything is alright, uptight, clean out of sight.

She's a pearl of a girl, I guess that's what you might say,
I guess her folks brought her up that way,
The right side of the tracks, she was born and raised
In a great big old house, full of butlers and maids.
She says no one is better than I, I know I'm just an average guy,
No football hero or smooth Don Juan,
Got empty pockets, you see I'm a poorman's son.
She says give her the things that money can buy
But I'll never, never make my baby cry,

And it's all right, what I can't do,
Out of sight because my heart is true,
She says baby ev'rything is alright, uptight, clean out of sight.
Baby, ev'rything is alright, uptight, clean out of sight.
 
 
THE MORAL OF THIS STORY:
 
 
Everyone deserves a second chance . . .
 
 
HERE'S AN ADDED BONUS:
 

Check out this clip from The Mike Douglas Show (1966).
 
MIKE DOUGLAS SHOW 1966
 
In it, Wonder sings 'Uptight,' and 'Place In The Sun' (another top 10 record in '66) live over a backing track which was very unusual; as most acts at that time lip-synched to their records in situations like this. 
 
The interview portion with Douglas provides a rare glimpse into the personality of the then 17 year old Wonder, at a time when 
neither he, nor the world, had any idea of what remarkable musical achievements lay just around the corner.
 
 

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