22 Jun Little Stevie Wonder’s Fingertips Part 2 Hits #1 in the Charts
On this day in 1963, Stevie Wonder, or Little Stevie Wonder as he was known back then, had his first hit single debut in the charts with Fingertips Pt. 2
This song is important not only to Wonder, but also marked a pivotal moment in Ritchie Yorke’s career. Having received a copy of the song while working at a radio station in Tamworth, Queensland, Ritchie was suitably impressed by Wonder’s incredible instrumentation, especially given his age of 12 and his blindness. Unfortunately, the higher-ups at the station were less impressed and Ritchie was informed not to play anymore “black” music on their channel under any circumstance. At this point, Ritchie’s logical next move was to lock himself in the studio and play the song for as long as it took for them to get in and turn it off. He succeeded, playing the song eight times and was swiftly fired, leaving him free to pursue the other goals in music journalism that we all know he achieved. More on these events can be read here in his biography.
The song itself was originally intended as a fairly simple jazz ditty recorded for his first album, The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie, intended to showcase Wonder’s skills on various instruments including the bongos and harmonica. The much more popular live version was recorded at the Regal Theatre in Chicago and Wonder’s encore spawned the even more successful Part 2. The song was released in late May and immediately surged through the charts, becoming the first live recording to reach #1. This was only the first of Wonder’s extensive catalogue of number one hits, which totalled over 65 incredible songs over the course of his career.