Monday, July 2, 2007

The Twelve-Year-Old Genius

If he hadn't gone on to become Stevie Wonder, the musical genius that we all know and love, I would guess that "Fingertips Pt. 2" would rank as one of the most left-field hits of all time. How many other live harmonica instrumentals by blind twelve-year-olds have even made the Top Forty, let alone gone all the way to Number One?

I've never heard "Fingertips Pt. 1," so maybe it makes more sense with that included. But I just can't fathom what people were grooving on back in 1962, listening to Stevie playing more or less a cappella, interspersed with a big horn band playing a Vegas-revue style riff. The alternating tempos mean that it's not even danceable. The only really salient thing about is when the audience shrieks in recognition at Stevie playing "Mary Had a Little Lamb."

I'm not saying it's bad; I'm just saying I don't get it. I'm not just surprised that "Fingertips Pt. 2" went to Number One -- I'm surprised that anyone ever thought to release it as a single.

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