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Signed, Sealed, and Delivered: The Soulful Journey of Stevie Wonder [Format Kindle]

Mark Ribowsky

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

"…a good read…" ( Echoes , May 2010) "…a fluid and lively read, critical and celebratory..." ( Time Out , May 2010) From the rollicking debut of "Fingertips—Part 2" to the funk piano and synthesizers of "Superstition" to the political rap of "Superstition," Stevie Wonder′s brilliant music has managed to capture the hearts of his listeners while at the same time probing the limits of musical styles and moving soul and rhythm and blues to new musical levels. Born in poverty in Saginaw, Mich., Wonder lost his sight soon after he was born. His blindness heightened his sense of hearing, and he soon began to master the toy musical instruments that his absentee father brought him. Very soon, Wonder graduated from toys to the real things: his barber gave him a Hohner chromatic harmonica; his church choir director, as well as his neighbor, allowed him to play for hours on their pianos; and the local Lions Club gave a drum set to Stevie after hearing him play it. Soon Wonder was the hit of Motown, and his career took off like a comet, only to burn out and lose some of its fiery glow in the 1980s and 1990s. Music journalist Ribowsky ( The Supremes ; He′s a Rebel ) traces the rapid ascent of Wonder′s musical career as well as the tumultuous ups and downs of his personal life in this workmanlike and pedantic book. Ribowsky′s exploration of Wonder′s music is first–rate, but his tendency to overlook Wonder′s faults turns this into one fan′s hagiography. (May) ( Publishers Weekly , March 22, 2010)

‘…scrupulously researched and solidly written…’ (Hot Press, June 2010). ‘Ribowsky tells the eyebrow–raising tale with the equal amounts of respect and incredulity it deserves.’ (Record Collector, August 2010).

Présentation de l'éditeur

The first definitive biography of music legend Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder's achievements as a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer are extraordinary. During a career that has spanned almost fifty years, he has earned more than thirty Top 10 hits, twenty-six Grammy Awards, and a place in both the Rock and Roll and Songwriter Halls of Fame—and he's not finished yet. On the verge of turning sixty, he is still composing, still touring, and still attracting dedicated fans around the world.

For the first time, Signed, Sealed, and Delivered takes an in-depth look at Stevie Wonder's life and his evolution from kid-soul pop star into a mature artist whose music helped lay the groundwork for the evolution of hip hop and rap.

  • Explores the life, achievements, and influence of one of America's biggest musical icons, set against the history of Motown and the last fifty years of popular music
  • Based on extensive interviews with Motown producers, music executives, songwriters, and musicians, including founding Temptation Otis Williams, Mickey Stevenson, surviving Funk Brother Eddie Willis, synthesizer genius Malcolm Cecil, guitar legend Michael Sembello, and many others
  • Traces Stevie's personal and musical development through the decades, from the early 1960s R&B of "Fingertips" to the social and political themes of "Living for the City" and other 1970s classics, through periods of musical and personal confusion, uncertainty, and, later, renewal

Read Signed, Sealed, and Delivered to explore the life and work of one of pop music's most compelling masters of invention.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 2707 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 352 pages
  • Editeur : Wiley; Édition : 1 (25 mars 2010)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • Composition améliorée: Activé
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°369.734 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)

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Amazon.com: 4.0 étoiles sur 5  13 commentaires
13 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Higher Learning 24 juin 2010
Par L. Hastings - Publié sur Amazon.com
Aside from the fact that all I can remember is loving Stevie Wonder's music and how it dominated radio in the early 70's and the fact that he's blind, I didn't know much else. I always wondered about the material, the esoteric album titles, the content of many of his songs being a bit ahead of the times and how his material differed from other Motown music. I thought of him as a deep, independent soul who had license to create what he wanted, although he was signed to Motown. This biography represents an eye-opening account of Stevie's musical life. I snatched up this book because I haven't seen that many books about Wonder, but I didn't expect what I got. I think the material represents music criticism at its finest because Ribowsky opens up all the songs down to what instruments were used, non-instruments, musicians, technology used, how Stevie Wonder went about acquiring everything he used to create sound, what inspired him to write what song, how long it would take for him to make an album. . . the list goes on and on and still the reader can keep up with what is being said without everything becoming too technical.

The difference between this book and the last book Ribowsky wrote on the Supremes is like night and day. The writing has improved to a much higher standard. The personal life of Stevie Wonder didn't seem unnatural or unusual given his way of life and the genius factor. His background was a bit rough, I guess I never thought of some of his songs as being autobiographical, but why not? It's still no gossip story loaded with scorching details. Berry Gordy is represented most unfavorably and I don't know what to make of that. It would appear that he robbed his artists, yet, I believe without Berry Gordy there would be no Stevie Wonder at least not in the same sense. What I liked best about this read is that Ribowsky could interview actual live people that worked with Stevie on his albums. So much information is crammed into this book. It was worth every penny that I paid (I didn't get amazon's great price) and has heightened Ribowsky's creditability as a biographer.
13 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Sixty years of genius in 300 pages -- with abounding rhythm 21 mai 2010
Par Tannehill - Publié sur Amazon.com
How can one write with trenchancy of a genius who records a monster hit at age 12, cuts his teeth as a teen going hit for hit with some of the greatest Motown acts; dominates an entire decade with a soul and funk expansion the tremors of which are still being felt in music; settles onto the top of pop paradise with some of the biggest middle-road hits of all time; then marches on collaborating with soul scions whom he begat and headlines all over the world, still vital and influential and beloved wherever he goes? The answer to the question is "Signed, Sealed,and Delivered: The Soulful Journey of Stevie Wonder." Incredibly, all of the above fits quite nicely and with vivid detail into 300 pages that move as nimbly and effortlessly as "Uptight (Out of Sight)" or (fill in the blank with any of the man's 49 Top 10 hits).

Ribowsky, who took 400 pages to cover the shorter Supremes' saga, manages to analyze every single Stevie Wonder track until the '90s and 00's works that have lesser meaning, and does it by getting inside the wondrous mind and cosmic soul of Stevie Wonder, from where all those songs in the key of life emanated. He draws on some of the very few Funk Brothers still alive for the '60s period of ascendancy, then Malcolm Cecil, the synthesizer master who opened the door to Stevie's ultimate creative impulses in the '70s. Along the way, we learn something we never could have assumed about Stevie Wonder -- that his beautiful music is the product of running away from memories of childhood that would have scarred the soul of someone less hardy and resilient. This is no easy thing to do -- witness Marvin Gaye and Michael Jackson, between whom Stevie came and conquered, and suffered the same depressions, addictions (not to drugs, thankfully, but sex in a way Tiger Woods can relate to. Stevie was the one who survived it all, because as Ribowsky posits, his music retained an essential optimism, which did no less than salvage his soul.

It seems that Stevie could have ended it all at any time since he was the carefree kid who was in more control of his music than anyone at Motown, even as a teenager, and pulled Berry Gordy in to directions he was reluctant to take. Here he was, at 15, covering "Blowin' in the Wind," then making an instrumental album, then going full-bore with primordial funk in 1968, pre-Sly Stone, pre-P-Funk, pre-Billy Preston with "Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Doo-Da-Day," which as Ribowsky suggests, is indivisible from the synth-pop-funk nirvana of "Superstition," the song that was the ultimate soul crossover, into the album-oriented FM rock charts of the early '70s.

Ribowsky not only cites the tracks that were nuclear in their way, but peels away their layers and reveals their genesis, their technique, their tonal and lyrical ingredients and where they came from within Stevie's id. All the while, Stevie's life ran parallel with but seemingly inverted from the music he was making. His personal life was a mess; he blew it with the only woman he ever loved, Syreeta Wright, and let get away to his eternal regret; his affairs were increasingly conscripted by leeches and hangers-on with a racial agenda that Stevie all too easily fell into, at the expense of his work; he grew despondent, morose, suicidal, and may have intended the classic "Higher Ground" as a farewell world letter set to music -- eerily, it would be released just as Stevie was nearly killed in an automobile accident. (Boldly, Ribowsky raises questions about some of the more mythic shadings of that accident). His life even now, as Ribowsky writes, is hardly what one would expect from the Black Mozart, a term Ribowsky uses apologetically but with cause; quoting Malcolm Cecil, he notes that this multimillion dollar enterprise is run from a truck in a studio parking lot, "like a Sunset Boulevard tattoo parlor."

This is brave stuff, but has there ever been a genius who didn't have feet of clay? The bottom line, however, is that none of the dark secrets of Stevie Wonder compromise the bright genius of Stevie Wonder, and this is precisely the tone and theme of the narrative of this book. It is uncompromising from all angles, neither hero-worshiping nor character eviscerating. It walks right down the middle, presenting and revealing Stevie Wonder for who and what he is; he leaves it to the reader to form their own judgment of him as a human being. But the man's ouevre is there to be worshiped -- not that Ribowsky doesn't destroy mediocrities like "Ebony and Ivory" or "I Just Called to Say I Love You."

Again, you will breeze through the book, learning all one need to know about a musical genius like no other in the rock era and the keys to his ignition, in record time, and put it down the better for it.

Addendum: There is a user review here that I read with astonishment, dismissing the book as some sort of wet kiss to Stevie and rife with "errors," though the only one cited was that Ribowsky says Ravi Shankar played sitar on a Beatles album. When I read that, I went back and looked up the one reference to Shankar in the book; it expressly does not say any such thing, but rather that Shankar played it for them during their "Maharishi" period. The word "album" never even appears here. The "critic" also blithely, with no examples to back it up, maintains that Ribowsky bends over backwards to praise even the most tepid Stevie songs. Consider what I mention about his raking several of the crassly commercial '80s songs. But he also absolutely wrecks Stevie's biggest mistake, "The Secret Life of Plants" album, and rips the intestines out of, for just one other example, Stevie's "La La Land," as a lower-case, cut-rate Hollywood analog of "Livin' for the City." He also points out the uneven, underwhelming tracks of "Where I'm Coming From," which kept that break-out album from competing with Marvin Gaye's break-out "What's Going On." And some of Stevie's disco-derivative stuff comes in for some witheringly clever criticism. And the citations to the Rolling Stone greatest-ever album list are quite literally brief asides, perfectly reasonable and relevant, and take up literally two or three sentences in a 400-page work. Monotonous? Only if you believe that Stevie Wonder's work itself is monotonous, as this nimrod apparently does, which is his problem not the book's.

Quite simply, the author of that "review" needs a remedial reading course. For those with reading skills higher than his first-grade level, pick up "Signed, Sealed, and Delivered," because you will find is thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening.
8 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Sunshine, But Not Much Life 29 juin 2010
Par letters2mary - Publié sur Amazon.com
Excellent discussion of music as it was created, along with reminiscences of Motown, a story which has become an American epic of mythic proportions (somehow, I never tire of it, even knowing that some of it surely must be "spin," all puns intended). Unfortunately, my quest in this book was to touch on some of Stevie's personality, and while there are descriptions of quirks, there is not much of a sense of the man himself, and precious little from his own mouth. Overall, though, a pleasant read for the appreciation of indelible accomplishment. The range is impressive, from pop to jazz to funk to courting songs to protest hits and back.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Almost Five Stars 31 mars 2014
Par Matthew - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
This is a really good book about Stevie Wonder, and really the only biography out there. Like his book on the Supremes, Ribowsky tells the story of Wonder alongside the story of Motown itself. The most surprising parts of the book are the early life of Wonder and his mother. The early pre and immediately post-Fingertips period and how Gordy kept holding Wonder back are very interesting as well.
The issues I have with the book have been aired by other reviewers. Ribowsky is a little too deferential to Wonder, and he lets him off the hook far more easily than he does Diana Ross in his Supremes biography. While Ribowsky is clearly a fan and admirer (as we all are) he goes to great lengths and very purple prose to describe Wonder’s talents and career. At times the book is a tad boring, especially after Wonder’s big 70s run of hit albums. And yes, by the time you get to Innervisions, the author repeatedly makes reference to Rolling Stone’s best 500 albums list. It does get a little annoying, but only when you get to that part of the book. The author does go out of his way to laud Innervisions, Songs in the Key of Life, Talking Book, and Fulfillingness' First Finale. And like I said, aside from understanding that these a great albums (on Great Album lists no doubt), you don’t really get a sense of why they’re great from the author.
To this reader, the book gives a good overview of Wonder’s life and career, but I don’t think I learned anything about him as a person. This might be because Wonder is reticent to discuss his childhood in interviews, and Ribowsky doesn’t seem to stray too far into what really push Wonder forward. Still it is a good foray into one of the best musicians of the 20th century, and lays the foundation (I hope) for a better biography of Wonder in the future.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Great Information about Stevie 6 octobre 2012
Par Mike B - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
I consider myself a Stevie Wonderologist and this book had many great stories about him. I wish this was more information about his 70's period of music. It kinda painted Stevie as a lonely guy with not many people to trust. Overall if you are a Stevie fan you will not be disappointed.
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