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Stevie Wonder was already a star when he celebrated his 21st birthday. He was also tied to a record contract that prevented him from releasing the sort of music that he wanted to make.
When he did hit 21, he renegotiated his contract, allowing for both a higher percentage rate and creative autonomy. Hitting the studio with Tonto’s Expanding Headband (and their magnificent modular synthesizer) in 1972, he produced Music of My Mind, followed by Talking Book, Innervisions, and Fulfillingness’ First Finale, each one a masterpiece of funky Clavinet, analogue synthesis and socially-conscious lyrics. He followed these award winners with a series of chart-topping singles and albums that would define the sound of the ‘80s.
You’ve heard Superstition, Higher Ground and Living for the City. Do we need to say more?