Stevie Wonder had America at his “Fingertips” in August 1963. The story of Little Stevie and a wonderful chart double came about when, with that live single already No.1 on the Hot 100, The 12 Year Old Genius moved to the top of the album bestsellers.
Stevie was actually 13 by this time, and “Fingertips Pt.2” had been climbing the singles survey since June, moving to the top of the pile earlier in August. The song was in its second of three weeks at the summit when, on the August 24 chart, the live album featuring the driving harmonica instrumental ended the 16-week reign of Andy Williams’ The Days Of Wine And Roses to spend one week at No.1. It happened a week after Billboard combined its Stereo and Monaural charts into one new survey called Top LPs.
Three albums in eight months
The 12 Year Old Genius was Stevie’s third album within the space of eight months, and the first to see any chart action. He’d debuted with The Jazz Soul Of Little Stevie Wonder the previous September, which Motown followed only a month later with his Ray Charles salute, Tribute To Uncle Ray, recorded before the Jazz Soul album when he was a mere 11 years old.
The new album success was, of course, just a taste of what was to come in Stevie’s incredible career. But there are some surprises in his American chart record. For all of his singles success, especially through the second half of the 1960s, it was nearly a decade before he returned to the US album Top 10 early in 1973 with Talking Book. Only two further titles from his unparalleled catalogue have reached No. 1, Fulfillingness’ First Finale in 1974 and Songs In The Key Of Life in 1976.
More fittingly, there have been eight further No.1 singles for Stevie on the American chart, starting with “Superstition” (again early in 1973), his most recent bestseller being 1985’s “Part Time Lover.”
Buy or stream The 12 Year Old Genius.