And follow in the Fingertips of Stevland Judkins who 60 years ago next year exploded into our musical consciousness.
We know him best as Stevie Wonder although back in 1963 he was just 12 and was introduced to us as Little Stevie Wonder.
Walking in Stevie’s Fingertips
His debut release for Motown label Tamla, the jazzy Fingertips, still stands the test of time.
With Stevie wowing us with his mastery of bongos and harmonica.
Stevie became the youngest artist to reach No.1 in the Billboard charts.
And the world wanted to know more about the boy wonder from Detroit.
Where his musical Motown family took him to their hearts.
And to his favourite candy.
Best bar none
Stevie, who in a different Bluesier age, would probably have gone by the moniker (or harmoniker in his case) of ‘Blind Boy Stevie’, loved a nutty nougat Baby Ruth bar.
And staff at the Hitsville USA House would be sure to leave the bar in the same place in the machine so he could feel for the slot.
And they were even said to leave coins there for him too.
The Hitsville House has undergone major million-dollar changes completed this year to accommodate ever-increasing numbers of visitors.
All of which our friends from Visit Detroit and Pure Michigan updated us on as we renewed our friendships.
At the plush Dakota Hotel in Glasgow.
And where Michigan State’s greatest ambassador Kelly revealed how she would regularly pass the blind school.
Where Stevland would learn to be Little Stevie.
The next generation
At Hitsville they are still inspiring the youth, the next generation and practically as well as aesthetically.
Founder Berry Gordy is 92 years young and still as wide-eyed about music as ever he was.
And he vowed: ‘Not only will the expanded museum entertain and tell the stories of talented and creative people who succeeded against all odds, but it will also inspire and create opportunities for people to explore their dreams the way I did mine.
‘I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of that.’
And that’s where Hitsville NEXT, the educational center of Motown Museum’s newly expanded campus comes in.
In the Motown Museum‘s words it is the hub of our programming efforts, it is the place in Detroit for talent cultivation, entrepreneurial training and empowerment, music making and professional development for those aspiring to be in the music industry.
I’ve seen first hand on my travels in the States how bringing young musicians from challenging backgrounds and giving them back opportunities can yield huge awards.
And the joy in the young artists’ performance on stage for a group of European travel writers at the Stax Music Academy in South Memphis.
And their euphoria as we broke bread with them afterwards when they were told they were to tour Europe.
Just the same glee I feel every time I know I’m going America, every bit of which the Vandellas name check in Dancing in the Streets.
And with Martha Reeves championing the Hitsville reconstruction this year.
And Detroit callin’ out around the world I definitely won’t forget the Motor City.