They Say It’s Your Birthday celebrates an artist’s special day with other people singing his or her songs. Let others do the work for a while. Happy birthday!
It’s hard to invent new praise for Stevie Wonder, but because today is his birthday I must rise to the occasion. The high priest of soul turns 61. That means it’s been exactly fifty years since Stevie Wonder first signed with Motown Records at age 11 and began to amass his more than 30 top ten US hits and 22 Grammy awards. As the ultimate luminary of soul music, Wonder’s influence has pervaded nearly every other genre. He is one of those few artists where anyone claiming he’s overrated is only embarrassing himself. This puts him on the same level as Dylan, the Stones, and the Beatles, and above iconic but more disputable artists like Aerosmith, Prince, and Madonna.