Today in Music History (Aug 24): A pre-teen Stevie Wonder breaks all the records

August 24 - Stevie Wonder breaks all the records

A prolific musical genius who has created a “Mt. Rushmore” career, Stevie Wonder was just a kid when he was signed by Motown, a talent too good to pass up, even if the Motown brass didn’t really know how to market him. Those doubts came to a halt on August 24, 1963, when an unlikely B-Side release became a record-breaking hit for the 12 year old star.

“Fingertips Part 2” was a live recording that showed the young performer at his loosest and best, playing with the audience and improvising onstage in the latter half of a song. It was a surprise radio pick up, and an even bigger surprise as it rocketed all the way to number one.

August 24 - Stevie Wonder breaks all the records

A prolific musical genius who has created a “Mt. Rushmore” career, Stevie Wonder was just a kid when he was signed by Motown, a talent too good to pass up, even if the Motown brass didn’t really know how to market him. Those doubts came to a halt on August 24, 1963, when an unlikely B-Side release became a record-breaking hit for the 12 year old star.

“Fingertips Part 2” was a live recording that showed the young performer at his loosest and best, playing with the audience and improvising onstage in the latter half of a song. It was a surprise radio pick up, and an even bigger surprise as it rocketed all the way to number one.

What kind of records did “Fingertips Part 2” break? Well, it became the first live recording to ever hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. And it drove the sales of the accompanying album, The 12 Year Old Genius, making it the first simultaneous single and album to top the charts.

Of course, “Fingertips Part 2” is rarely heard on radio anymore, and pales when compared to the incredible critically acclaimed music that Wonder created in the 70s and afterward, but it was the spark that set off the chart history of an artist for the ages, and it all happened on this day in 1963.

 
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