Signed, Sealed, and Delivered: The Soulful Journey of Stevie Wonder

Signed, Sealed, and Delivered: The Soulful Journey of Stevie Wonder

4.5 6
by Mark Ribowsky
     
 

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Nobody would argue that Stevie Wonder had an easy start in life. Blinded within weeks of his premature birth, he was raised in stark poverty and abused by a brutish and alcoholic father who later abandoned the family. Through sheer talent, bold ambition, and a fierce desire for independence, he rose from the streets of Detroit to become a Motown prodigy, and from

Overview

Nobody would argue that Stevie Wonder had an easy start in life. Blinded within weeks of his premature birth, he was raised in stark poverty and abused by a brutish and alcoholic father who later abandoned the family. Through sheer talent, bold ambition, and a fierce desire for independence, he rose from the streets of Detroit to become a Motown prodigy, and from there to become, arguably, the most innovative, versatile, and influential musician, singer, and songwriter of the past fifty years. Signed, Sealed, and Delivered tells the story of Stevie Wonder in fascinating, delightful, and sometimes shocking detail. This powerful biography will have you laughing, crying, grinning, and grooving from beginning to end.

Editorial Reviews

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)
From the Publisher
* "…a good read…" (Echoes, May 2010)

"…a fluid and lively read, critical and celebratory..." (Time Out, May 2010)

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) (Publishers Weekly, March 22, 2010)

Library Journal
Ribowsky follows biographies of the Supremes, Phil Spector (He's a Rebel), and Satchel Paige (Don't Look Back) with a captivating look at this legend of popular music. From Stevland Morris's childhood in Saginaw, MI, Ribowsky traces his metamorphosis into Little Stevie the Wonder Boy and beyond, culminating in the musician and icon we know today. He focuses on the first half of Wonder's career and spends a major portion of the book describing the inner workings of artistic development at Motown. Ribowsky wisely concentrates on the trajectory and development of Wonder's hallmark style and provides an excellent in-depth look at his 1970s albums via interviews with studio collaborators. Stevie Wonder turns 60 in May and continues to hold a prominent place in popular music, as his recent Grammy nomination proves. VERDICT This portrait of artistic development and a candid look at Motown Records in the 1960s–70s is a page-turner that will delight lovers of popular music and the Motown sound.—Bill Baars, Lake Oswego P.L., OR

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780470481509
Publisher:
Turner Publishing Company
Publication date:
04/26/2010
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.50(d)

Meet 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.

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Signed, Sealed, and Delivered: The Soulful Journey of Stevie Wonder 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous 6 months ago
Gold medal. Signed enderplayz
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Teest
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