Search This Blog

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

May 13, 1950

Well, as I alluded to in last week's Tuesday Timeline entry, I will be doing something special for every Tuesday in May.  This month, every Tuesday Timeline will feature a birthdate of someone who has made an impact in the world of pop culture.  As you know, last week, I did a blog entry on George Clooney, who turned 53 one week ago.

And, in celebration of these birthdates, I will be attempting to find one fact for every year that this person has been alive in relation to their careers, personal lives, trivia facts, and other miscellaneous bits and pieces.  Last week when I did George Clooney, I managed to find fifty-three different trivia facts about George Clooney.  If you thought that was tough, you haven't seen anything yet.  Today's birthday spotlight is much older...which means more facts than ever before.

But, hey.  I love a challenge.

But first things first, we have to talk about the historical events of May 13 that changed our world...or at the very least, the world of pop culture.  And, for those of you who are lucky enough to see it, I've been using a lot of a specific font lately.  I wonder if that might have any significance to any future changes?

(For those of you who can't see it, the font is Kabel.  I tried to add it into the blog itself as a choice, but they want me to pay for installation...which is just crazy talk!  So, I'll have to find a different, more generic font, for the main body text.  The Kabel font will be used as emphasis, and will more than likely show up as a bolded version of the font I eventually use.  But here I am babbling about fonts when I should be talking about May 13 throughout history.  I'll be quiet now.)

1515 - Mary Tudor and Charles Brandon are married at Greenwich

1846 - The United States declares war on Mexico, leading to the Mexican-American War commencing

1861 - The Great Comet of 1861 is discovered by Australian John Tebbutt

1880 - Thomas Edison performs the first test of his electric railway in Menlo Park, New Jersey

1912 - The Royal Flying Corps is established in the United Kingdom (later to be renamed the Royal Air Force

1914 - American boxer Joe Louis (d. 1981) is born in Lafayette, Alabama

1922 - Actress Beatrice Arthur (d. 2009) is born in New York, New York

1939 - Bloomfield, Connecticut becomes the first American city to host a commercial FM radio station (WDRC-FM)

1940 - Winston Churchill makes his famous "blood, toil, tears, and sweat" speech to the House of Commons as Germany begins its conquest of France

1941 - Singer Ritchie Valens (d. 1959) is born in Pacoima, California

1954 - The Broadway musical "The Pajama Game" hosts its first performance

1961 - Actor/singer Gary Cooper dies of cancer six days after his 60th birthday

1972 - Actor Dan Blocker dies of a pulmonary embolism at 43, shortly after filming the thirteenth season finale of "Bonanza"

1989 - Large groups of students occupy Tiananmen Square, beginning a hunger strike

1994 - Johnny Carson makes his final television appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman

1995 - Alison Hargreaves becomes the first woman to climb Mt. Everest without the assistance of oxygen or shirpas

2000 - A fireworks factory explodes in The Netherlands, killing 22, wounding 950, and causing 450 million Euros in damage in the city of Enschede

2013 - American psychologist Dr. Joyce Brothers dies at the age of 85

I'd also like to take the time to wish the following celebrities a very happy birthday; Dominic Cossa, Harvey Keitel, Sam Anderson, Zoe Wanamaker, Bobby Valentine, Rosie Boycott, Mary Walsh, Steve Blackwood, Ravi Shankar, Dennis Rodman, Sean McDonough, Stephen Colbert, Tom Verica, Darius Rucker, PMD, Brian Geraghty, Neil Hopkins, Samantha Morton, Mickey Madden, Natalie Cassidy, Lena Dunham, Hunter Parrish, and Debby Ryan.

And, today's date - also a celebrity birthday - is May 13, 1950!

Oh, dear.  Looks like I'll be spending some time trying to find sixty-four different pieces of trivia about a songwriting legend.  And, when I say legend, I mean it.  He was barely in his teens when he began to wow the world with his incredible vocal talents, and at 64 years young, he shows no sign of slowing down.

Today's blog will heavily feature the song stylings of Stevie Wonder.  And in celebration of sixty-four years of Stevie, here are sixty-four pieces of trivia.  Hope you have some time to spare!

1 - Stevie Wonder's name at birth was Stevland Hardaway Judkins.  Try saying that three times fast!

2 - Stevie was born six weeks premature to Calvin Judkins and Lula Mae Hardaway in Saginaw, Michigan.

3 - Stevie's premature birth prevented his eyes from fully developing, resulting in permanent blindness.

4 - Stevie's last name was officially changed to "Morris" following his mother's decision to leave his father when Stevie was four.

5 - By the time Stevie was ten years old, he had already learned how to play the harmonica, piano, drums, and bass.

6 - Stevie is the third of six children.

7 - He earned his first recording contract with Motown's Tamla label.  At the time he signed the contract, he was just ELEVEN years old.

8 - It was producer Clarence Paul that was responsible for Stevie's stage name.  Because he was not yet a teenager when he was signed to Tamla, he was given the stage name of Little Stevie Wonder.

9 - Stevie Wonder's first album was 1962's "The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie".  The first of many, might I add.

10 - Stevie Wonder's first number one hit was a single called "Fingertips", which topped the charts on August 10, 1963...

11 - ...and this single made Stevie Wonder the youngest person ever to have a Billboard Hot 100 single, at just thirteen years old!

12 - The song also simultaneously topped the R&B charts - the first time in music history that this ever happened.

13 - When Stevie was a teenager, he tried his hand at acting, starring in "Muscle Beach Party" and "Bikini Beach".

14 - Did you know that in addition to singing, he also composed his songs for other artists?  He helped compose this 1968 single by "Smokey Robinson & The Miracles"...

15 - ...and this 1970 single by The Spinners.

16 - Stevie Wonder played the harmonica in Elton John's 1983 single "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues.

17 - He also lent his harmonica stylings to Chaka Khan's "I Feel For You" in 1984.

18 - And, while we're at it, let's add this 1999 single by Sting to the list of singles in which Stevie played his harmonica!

19 - Throughout his whole career, Stevie Wonder managed to have ten singles go to the #1 position.  The first was "Fingertips", the last was his collaboration on the 1986 single "That's What Friends Are For" with Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight, and Elton John.

20 - Stevie Wonder's first number one hit was in 1963.  His second was nine years later in 1972 with the single "Superstition".

21 - Stevie Wonder has released twenty-three studio albums total, his most recent being 2005's "A Time To Love".

22 - Performed at the funerals of Michael Jackson, Etta James, and Whitney Houston.

23 - He is estimated to have sold over 100 million records since he began recording music over fifty years ago.

24 - He has won a total of twenty-two Grammy Awards throughout his entire lifetime so far.

25 - In 1996, he also received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

26 - His song "Isn't She Lovely" was inspired by his daughter, Aisha Morris, who occasionally sings with her father on concert tours.

27 - Stevie's youngest son, Mandla shares the same birthday with his father - fifty-five years apart!

28 - Stevie Wonder won an Academy Award for Best Original Song for his song, "I Just Called To Say I Love You" from "The Woman in Red".

29 - During his acceptance speech at the Academy Awards, Wonder dedicated the award to Nelson Mandela, who was still in prison at the time.  After that, Stevie Wonder's music was banned from South Africa.

30 - He became the second recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Pop Music on February 23, 2009.

31 - He sang at the closing ceremonies of the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

32 - In August 1973, Stevie Wonder was involved in a car accident in North Carolina which put him in a coma and caused him to lose his sense of smell and taste.  He made a mostly full recovery though (he still has no sense of smell).

33 - Stevie Wonder's height is listed as exactly six feet tall.

34 - Stevie was married twice.  His first marriage to Syreeta Wright ended after two years.  His second marriage to Kai Millard has also ended, with Millard filing for divorce just a few years after their 2001 wedding.

35 - His ex-wife Syreeta passed away in 2004 following a battle with breast cancer.

36 - Was the youngest ever recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors Award, being just 49 when he was presented the award on December 5, 1999.

37 - Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989.

38 - In 1968, he recorded an album of instrumental jazz singles.  The album was entitled EIVETS REDNOW...Stevie Wonder spelled backwards.

39 - He was voted the 15th Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Artist of all-time by Rolling Stone.

40 - Stevie once remarked that he would have liked to have run for mayor of Detroit.  But obviously, that did not happen.  Would have been kind of cool though.

41 - Was a collaborator on the 1985 charity single "We Are The World".

42 - He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, located at 7050 Hollywood Boulevard.

43 - His 1977 single "Sir Duke" was dedicated to his lifelong hero, Duke Ellington.

44 - His thoughts on drinking and driving?  He was quoted as saying "Before I ride with somebody who's been drinking, I'll drive myself."

45 - Named a United Nations Messenger of Peace in December 2009.

46 - His thoughts on Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law?  "Unless the Stand Your Ground law is abolished in Florida, I will never perform there again."

47 - His last solo #1 single was 1985's "Part-Time Lover".  I can't believe it's been almost thirty years!

48 - Appeared on an episode of Sesame Street in 1973 performing "The Sesame Street Song"!

49 - Did you know that Marvin Gaye played the drums on Stevie Wonder's "Fingertips" single?

50 - Stevie Wonder once performed alongside Jimi Hendrix during downtime at the BBC.

51 - Stevie Wonder was the very first person to own the E-mu Emulator.

52 - 1968 was an extremely busy year for Stevie.  Not only did he graduate from the Michigan School for the Blind, but he released FOUR albums that year!

53 - In 1980, Stevie Wonder launched a campaign to make Martin Luther King's birthday a national holiday.

54 - Although Stevie Wonder had several #1 singles by the time "I Just Called To Say I Love You" was released, that single became Stevie's first single to hit #1 in the UK!

55 - Received the NAACP Hall of Fame Award in 2008.

56 - Was one of the last guests to appear on Johnny Carson's "The Tonight Show".

57 - Appeared on Saturday Night Live in 1983.

58 - Appeared as a special guest on "The Cosby Show" in 1986.

59 - He is born under the sign of "Taurus".

60 - Is always seen wearing a pair of sunglasses.

61 - Scored a #1 hit with Paul McCartney in 1982 with a song all about racial harmony.

62 - The Red Hot Chili Peppers scored a hit in 1989 by covering one of Stevie Wonder's songs, "Higher Ground".

63 - The single "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours" was the very first single that Stevie produced all by himself.  It was also the first single to feature his female backup singers.

64 - His single "You Haven't Done Nothin'" was a political statement song, aimed squarely at Richard Nixon!  Listen to the lyrics.  Clearly there's a lot of anger there!

And, that was a lot more challenging than I thought it would be!  I'll have to try and find a younger subject next week!

At any rate, happy 64th, Stevie!  I hope you have a great day!  And to end this really long Tuesday Timeline off...I'll post my all-time favourite Stevie Wonder song.  Enjoy!

No comments:

Post a Comment