When Stevland Hardaway Judkins was born prematurely in 1950, the infant's mother and father were no doubt very distraught when their son's retinas detached and he became blind within a few days. The boy's blindness would have no bearing on his future success, however, as he would become a famous, successful, and increasingly innovative musician later in life -- after he changed his name to Stevie Wonder.
Wonder's musical gift was apparent almost from the beginning, as he'd mastered the piano by age nine, and was also playing the drums, bass, and harmonica by ten. Raised in the middle of the Motown scene, Wonder soon caught the ear of Miracles vocalist Ronnie White, who brought the 11-year-old in to showcase his talents for label founder Berry Gordy. Wonder was signed, and subsequently began a successful recording career that would last for decades to come, releasing such classic songs as "Uptight (Everything's Alright)," "For Once in My Life," "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours," "You Are the Sunshine of My Life," "Isn't She Lovely," and countless others.
A legend in his industry, Wonder's creative, romantic, socially conscious style continued to inspire fans of subsequent generations. He would continue touring steadily through the 2000s, and ramped up his social and political activism for the 2008 election, advocating for democratic candidate Barack Obama, who would become the first African-American U.S. President.