9. Stevie Wonder
On his real name, Steveland Judkins was born prematurely on May 13, 1950 in Saginaw, Michigan. During his youth in the incubator, the oxygen level was too high, which led to blindness. He learned, however, that all is not lost when you’re out of sight and other senses can help you succeed in life too.
So, full of will, he learned to play the accordion, piano and conga, and at age 11 gave the first test against officials from Motown Records. They were impressed by his talent and offered him a contract. Under the stage name “Little Stevie Wonder” was the first successful brands in just 13 years, when the composition “Fingertips (Pt. 2)” recorded in concert with Marvin Gaye on drums and Steve on vocals and harmonica, reach number one in the States. Her debut album was called “The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie Wonder” and aa appeared in the same year.
He dropped the nickname ‘Little’, remaining with the stage name Stevie Wonder that with songs like “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)”, “With a Child’s Heart” or “I Was Made To Love Her”, made known everywhere in the world. By 1970 Stevie has released no less than 11 albums and has had an equal number of singles in the Top 10. But the big break came in the 70s when Stevie Wonder’s songs reached the charts regardless if they were interpreted by him or other artists.
In 1971 when he was just 21 years old, Stevie went under Motown accusing them of excessive control over the artist. In 1972, two independently recorded album, Stevie Wonder sat down at the negotiating table with those from Motown, and obtained complete freedom in composing and promoting his music. The first album after reconciliation was “Music of My Mind” followed the same year by the “Talking Book” on the song “Superstition” leading the US reached.
In 1973, during a tour, Stevie Wonder had an accident and was in a coma after for a week, escaped without any permanent loss of smell than the track. He continued to write and record music, only because of poor health has limited the number of live appearances. The album appeared in this period, considered to be his masterpiece Stevie is “Songs in the Key of Life”. He pulled out five albums in the 80s, all reached gold records and platinum peak being reached in 1984 when he released super hit “I Just Called To Say I Love You” in 1985 when he wrote the song “We Are Are The World “for famine victims in Ethiopia, which have played a lot of renowned artists.
In 1991, he collaborated with director Spike Lee, writing a good part of the soundtrack to the movie “Jungle Fever” and had universal recognition for the album “Conversation Piece”, for which he received two Grammys. In 1999, he agreed to make a difficult operation for planting a prosthetic retina that help him see partially. After the appearance of the 2005 album “A Time To Love”, a year later he lost his mother, which led him to take a break for two years.
8. Tina Turner
Nothing in Tina Turner’s childhood heralded the fame that was engraved in her destiny, not even the names of acts, Anna Mae Bullock, with a quiet and provincial scent. She seemed doomed to share the fate of the small cotton pickers, the poor African Americans, while her biggest dream was to become a nurse.
Born on November 26, 1939 in a poor family in Nutbush, Tennessee, Anna Mae was abandoned shortly by her parents and was left in the care of his grandmother and her elder sister, Alline. The two move to St. Luis, Missouri, in 1956, in an effort to approach their mother again. When Anna Mae turns 17, Alline gives her as a gift an evening spent at one of the most popular nightclubs in town, Club Manhattan. The entertainment there was offered by the special guests of the club, the Kings of Rithm, the band led by Ike Turner.
A loosely organized audition in a hot atmosphere of the place was enough to realize the huge potential she has and Ike was immediately made aware of the voice and attitude he has in front of him. When she was less than 18 years old, Anna Mae already lived experiences, as the singer of Kings of Rithm and her first disappointments in love. Ike was not yet in her landscape of love, but the love story with Raymond Hill, the saxophonist of the group would start some painful strings of sentimental dramas.
In 1958 Craig gives birth to her first son, but Raymond leaves her shortly after. Abandoned, Anna seeks shelter in the arms of the man who was to become her mentor, husband and enemy and whose only contribution was to the becoming of what was to be the flame of rock, giving her her stage name, a gift that compensated the sad years of humble and violence which followed.
Tina Turner is the living proof that youth does not need to be the exclusive first years of becoming a professional or finding fulfillment in love. “To me age is just a number,” she said when she explained the stubbornness to not withdraw, to not appease the fire of her voice and the storm in her blood, not covereing with a thick blanket her restless feet, but wearing only skirts and short blades.
7. James Brown
Two of the children of the American singer James Brown, who died in 2006, are preparing the publication of two books that talk about the artist’s life known as the “Godfather of Soul“, describing scenes of domestic violence and calling his death “a crime”.
James Brown, among whose hits include “Living in America”, “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” and “I Got You (I Feel Good)” died on Christmas in 2006 in Atlanta at the age of 73, because of a heart failure caused by pneumonia. His musical career lasted for six decades, Brown being recognized as one of the most dynamic artists on stage in the history of the American music.
Anthem of the civil rights
The singer, also known as “Mr. Dynamite,” brought the word “funk” into the mainstream and influenced several generations of musicians of color. His hit song “Say It Loud” (I’m Black and I’m Proud / I’m black and proud of it) became an anthem of the civil rights during the 1960s when James Brown sang this song in 1969 at a ceremony takeover for the mandate of President of the United States, Richard Nixon, which adversely affected his popularity among young blacks, for a while.
Brown was a showman, he used to change outfits many times during performances and dance a lot on the stage. He said at one time that he likes give the viewers more than they expected when they came to the concert. He had nearly 120 songs in the music charts and recorded over 50 albums, was introduced in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame and received a lifetime achievement Grammy in 1992.
Brown has built several successful businesses, including several radio stations and his own production company. He had many expensive cars and a private jet. He was elected member of the Council on Drugs of the American President Ronald Reagan but was arrested several times in 1980 and 1990 and charged with possession of weapons and drugs.
In 1988, Brown began his music career in jail as a juvenile, back behind bars, sentenced to six years because of drugs and weapons after racing through the states of Georgia and South Carolina, which ended after the police fired several shots into his car tires. He came out of prison in 1991. The artist had several children, of which only admitted nine. James Brown was married three times, and in 1990 his marriage to Adrienne Lois Rodriguez held the headlines because of the scandals and the domestic violence.