Thursday, May 13, 2010

Everybody say 'yeah!'

They were both at the Regal Theatre in Chicago on that early summer day in 1962 for a Motortown Revue performance.  It would be two years before America discovered Mary Wells with the release of her only No. 1 hit "My Guy."  Not so long for Little Stevie Wonder, who was 12 years old at the time.

The genius of producer Barry Gordy was already at work.  Wonder, a promising singer and harmonica player, was there to record a live version of "Fingertips" which had been recorded previously in the studio but was too long to release as a single.  The live song, or rather its flip side "Fingertips-Pt. 2" would become the first live recording to make No. 1.  That was the side on which the kid gets the groove going by shouting "Everybody say 'Yeah!', and during a reprise a musician can be heard yelling "What key? What key?"

It was the key of life for Stevie Wonder, who would have his first of eight No. 1 singles. Wonder and Wells could only have dreamed that day what might become of their careers.  Did they even know at the time that they shared the same birthday?

Ritchie Valens (1941-1959): Singer
Donna, La Bamba

Mary Wells (1943-1992): Singer
My Guy, Two Lovers, You Beat Me to the Punch, The One Who Really Loves You

Danny Klein (1946): Bass, J. Geils Band
Give It to Me, One Last Kiss, Freeze-Frame, Centerfold, Land of a 1000 Dances

Overend Pete Watts (1947): Bass, Mott the Hoople
All the Young Dudes, Ballad of Mott, All the Way to Memphis, Saturday Gigs

Stevie Wonder (1950): Singer/songwriter
Fingertips (Pt. 2), Superstition, You Are the Sunshine of My Life, I Just Called to Say I Love You

Paul Thompson (1951): Drummer, Roxy Music, Concrete Blonde
Do the Strand, Editions of You, Street Life, All I Want is You, Out of the Blue, Joey


  1. Marvin Gaye played drums on "Fingertips."

  2. Gotta love Stevie Wonder..... songs in the key of life, was the first album I ever bought by him..... all the rest of his songs were 45's, back then. I especially like his "Superstition" which I also have on my Ipod.