Tunes Du Jour Presents Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder, born Stevland Hardaway Judkins, has captivated audiences worldwide with his unparalleled musical genius and soulful artistry. From humble beginnings in Saginaw, Michigan, this prodigious talent embarked on a remarkable journey that has left an indelible mark on the landscape of popular music.

Wonder’s contributions to the industry are profound and far-reaching. His virtuosic musicianship, coupled with his ability to seamlessly blend various genres, has resulted in a discography that defies categorization. Songs like “Superstition,” “Sir Duke,” and “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” have become timeless anthems, transcending generations and cultural boundaries.

Beyond his musical prowess, Stevie Wonder’s accolades are a testament to his enduring impact. With 25 Grammy Awards under his belt, he holds the record for the most wins by a solo artist. Additionally, he has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, solidifying his status as a true icon.

While Wonder’s artistic achievements are undeniable, his philanthropic endeavors are equally inspiring. He has used his platform to advocate for various causes, including civil rights, disability awareness, and hunger relief. His efforts have earned him numerous honors, including the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Library of Congress’ Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.

Perhaps most notably, Stevie Wonder’s unwavering commitment to social justice and equality has been a driving force throughout his career. His advocacy for Martin Luther King Jr. Day to be recognized as a national holiday in the United States is a testament to his unwavering dedication to promoting positive change.

As we bask in the melodic brilliance of Stevie Wonder’s music, we are reminded of the profound impact an artist can have on the world. His contributions extend far beyond the realm of entertainment, inspiring generations with his talent, compassion, and unwavering dedication to making the world a better place.

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Tunes Du Jour Presents Elton John

In the vast landscape of popular music, few names shine as brightly or endure as steadfastly as Elton John’s. With a career spanning over half a century, Sir Elton John, born Reginald Dwight, has left an indelible mark on the world of music. His repertoire is a rich tapestry woven with threads of rock, pop, and ballads, each song a testament to his unparalleled talent and versatility.

From the iconic “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” to the soul-stirring “Your Song,” Elton John’s music resonates with audiences across generations. His ability to craft melodies that evoke emotion and lyrics that tell stories has earned him a place in the pantheon of musical legends. Tracks like “Rocket Man” transports listeners to otherworldly realms, while “Crocodile Rock” ignites a sense of joy and nostalgia.

Yet, beyond his musical prowess, Elton John’s legacy extends far into the realms of philanthropy and activism. As an openly gay man in the music industry during a time when such visibility was rare, he became a trailblazer for LGBTQ+ rights. His foundation, the Elton John AIDS Foundation, has been at the forefront of the fight against HIV/AIDS since its inception in 1992, raising millions of dollars to support prevention, treatment, and advocacy efforts worldwide.

Moreover, Elton John’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is evident not only in his music but also in his actions. He has used his platform to champion marginalized voices and challenge societal norms, paving the way for greater acceptance and understanding.

As we journey through the vast expanse of Elton John’s discography, we not only revel in the brilliance of his music but also recognize the depth of his impact on the world. His melodies echo through the corridors of time, serving as a reminder of the transformative power of art and the enduring legacy of one of music’s greatest maestros.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist: 2-2-24

The Honey Cone was the first act signed to Hot Wax Records, a label started in 1968 by Eddie and Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier, who previously were staff writers and producers at Motown Records and in that role wrote twelve number one singles between 1962 and 1967, two performed by The Four Tops and the other ten by The Supremes, with lead vocals by Diana Ross, who would soon leave the trio and be replaced by Jean Terrell in 1970, with Terrell being replaced in 1973 by Scherrie Payne, who before then was the singer in a group called Glass House, also signed to Hot Wax Records, who recorded “Want Ads” prior to The Honey Cone, but neither Scherrie nor the track’s producer, Greg Perry, liked their version, leading Scherrie to re-record the song with her sister Freda, who had a number 3 record in 1970 with “Band of Gold,” a song co-penned by Holland-Dozier-Holland under assumed names, but the sisters’ version of “Want Ads” was also discarded, which then led Scherrie to suggest to Perry that he try the song again with Edna Wright singing, Wright being the lead singer for The Honey Cone and the sister of Darlene Wright, the singer for the group The Blossoms, and while you may not recognize the names Darlene Wright or The Blossoms, you may know their music, for producer Phil Spector renamed Darlene Wright Darlene Love (without her knowledge) and released records by The Blossoms under the name The Crystals, who hit number 1 with “He’s a Rebel,” and should not be but will be confused with another group called The Crystals, also produced by Phil Spector at the same time he was working with Wright/Love and The Blossoms, but let’s get back to Edna Wright, who recorded “Want Ads” with backing vocals by the other two members of The Honey Cone, Shellie Clark, who a couple of years earlier was singing backup for Ike and Tina Turner, and Carolyn Willis, who toured as a member of Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans, a group whose records were produced by Phil Spector and featured vocals from Darlene Wright/Love. In June of 1971 The Honey Cone took “Want Ads” to number 1. (This paragraph is pulled from my long-awaited (by me, anyway) book, which I’m trying to get out this year.) 

The late Edna Wright of The Honey Cone was born on this date in 1945. A couple of the group’s best-known songs, including “Want Ads,” are on today’s playlist.

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