More influential soul legend: Stevie Wonder or Marvin Gaye? | The Tylt
More influential soul legend: Stevie Wonder or Marvin Gaye?
Stevie Wonder got his start at Motown at the tender age of 11, scoring his first #1 hit with "Fingertips" two years later in 1963. Wonder continued to successfully sing and play his harmonica throughout the '60s.
In the '70s, Wonder explored funkier soulful sounds on smashes like "Superstition" and "Higher Ground." He continued to sing love ballads and joyful songs throughout the decade, like "You Are the Sunshine of My Life," while releasing socially conscious material like "Living For the City."
After dominating the '70s, the multi-talent musician continued his success in the '80s with hits like "Ebony and Ivory," "Ribbon in the Sky," "Happy Birthday" and "I Just Called to Say I Love You." Wonder's social consciousness, musicianship, songwriting, and vocals have been praised since the '60s. He's regarded as one of the most successful Billboard-era artists of all time, with 10 total #1 hits. He's also regarded as one of the most commercially successful musical icons ever. He's inspired generations of artists—including other greats like Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Beyoncé, John Legend and Kanye West.
Marvin Gaye was deemed the Prince of Motown and Prince of Soul after gaining solo hits in the '60s, with smashes like "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)" and "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," and duets like "You're All I Need to Get By" and "Ain't No Mountain High Enough."
Gaye went through a depression in the early '70s following the death of Tami Terrell, who was his frequent duet partner. But the soul icon continued to make music; the socially conscious "What's Going On" was released in 1971, followed by "Let's Get It On" in 1973.
Gaye's conceptual albums and musical themes of love, sex, and social issues helped shape soul music. His four-octave vocal range inspired a string of artists to come, including the likes of Michael Jackson, Usher, Aaliyah, D'Angelo, Maxwell, Brian McKnight and Robin Thicke. His music also inspired sub-genres of R&B/soul music—like quiet storm and neo-soul.
Gaye's career had longevity but was cut short when he was shot and killed by his abusive father on April 1, 1984, just one day before his birthday. Though, his music lives on—from the many covers to pop culture references like Charlie Puth and Meghan Trainor's hit "Marvin Gaye."