Stevie Wonder is the sunshine of and the soundtrack to our lives. He is the man behind the dark sunglasses with the infectious smile and the musical genius who makes the timeless classics that we choose for our wedding songs like “Ribbon In The Sky” and pull us to any dancefloor for a good ol’ electric slide to songs like “As.” And, of course, no born day celebration is truly complete without a rendition of Stevie’s version of “Happy Birthday” from 1980’s Hotter Than July.
Despite going blind shortly after his birth on May 13, 1950, in Saginaw, Mich., the boy born Stevland Hardaway Judkins adopted the stage name Little Stevie Wonder when he was signed to Motown at the age of just 11. The child prodigy who learned to play the piano, harmonica, and drums at an early age went on to become the youngest artist to reach the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 charts with his 1963, single “Fingertips.”
For nearly six decades the multitalented musician has gifted the world with his ever-growing catalog, a cornucopia of music that incorporates every genre from Soul, Funk, Rock, Reggae, and everything in-between. His impact on acts including Alicia Keys, John Legend, Prince, and countless others is simply undeniable. In fact, India.Arie dedicated the feel-good track “Wonderful” from her 2001 debut album Acoustic Soul to the beloved artist and activist.
Today, on Stevie Wonder’s 72nd birthday, VIBE compiled a list of some of our favorite songs perfect for any festivity but especially a birthday. So, clap your hands, bop your heads, sing along, and don’t even think about acting like you don’t know the words—”Happy Birthday to ya!”