Stevland Hardaway Morris was just 12 years old when he had his first hit record. Since then, Stevie Wonder, as he became known, has had over fifty hit recordings and is still going strong. Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours, was a hit in 1970.
I can’t recall the first song I ever heard and took notice of. My parents weren’t greatly musical. They had record albums but I can’t remember them being played much. I wonder if they waited until my brother, sister and I were in bed and then cranked up the old radiogram?
Even more, however, I remember the seventies. And I think I remember the first real pop song I heard.
So, it’s 1970 and we’re on holiday on Waiheke Island. Just like we are every year, and there are no complaints from me, it’s glorious. My dad loves to read the newspaper morning and night and so, every morning and every night someone has to walk 15 minutes to the store, buy the paper, and walk the 15 minutes home again. I’m always happy to volunteer.
My companion on the walk is my transistor radio and Radio Hauraki.
a word about radio hauraki.
Up until 1968 radio was a state owned monopoly. If you wanted to listen to popular music, you’d have to listen to 1YA after 7pm when, for an hour or so, the tedium of the government’s station gave way to more contemporary tunes.
Radio Hauraki (logo to the right) was a pirate station. They got around the ban on private stations by broadcasting from a ship, the Tiri, that would sail into international waters and send a signal back to the mainland.
What many people don’t realise is that the programmes were never live. A week’s worth of programming was taped on shore on large reel to reel tape recorders. The Tiri would then sail off shore and play the tapes.
I recall the day in early 1968 when the Tiri was battered by a storm and ran aground. The announcer cutting across the taped broadcast to issue a mayday call.
By the middle of 1970 the government had relented and permitted Radio Hauraki and other stations to broadcast from land. So, after 1,111 days broadcasting from sea the crew headed for home playing their final at-sea broadcast, a documentary on the station’s history. As the ship drew near to Auckland the station played Born Free over and over.
back to the song!
I loved the morning and evening summer holiday newspaper walks. I’d listen to my transistor and sing along to the songs. I even remember the songs that were played. Some of them I’ve written about. Tracy, Telegram Sam, Whole Lotta Love, Stagefright…
But there is one song, two actually from the same artist, that stand out for me. When I hear them they take me back to those beach walks – I can almost feel the warmth of the sun on my back and hear the crashing of the waves. The two songs are Stevie Wonder’s, Yesterme, Yesteryou, Yesterday, and Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours. Truth be told, I wanted to write about the former in this blog but it was released in 1969 so fell outside of the guidelines for SeventiesMusic.
signed, sealed, delivered, i’m yours fax
- While only making it to number three on the US Charts, Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours spent six weeks on the US R and B charts.
- Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours was the first song Stevie produced on his own.
- The title, Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours, was suggested by Stevie’s mother, Lula, as she listened to him tinkering on his piano
- Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours was Stevie’s first Grammy award nomination.
- Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours has been covered by a number of well-known artists including, Elton John while still performing under his real name, Reginald Dwight, Chaka Khan, Peter Frampton, Kim Wilde, Michael McDonald, Pat Monahan (leader singer of the band Train), Craig David and, boy band Blue featuring Stevie himself singing along.
- Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours was Stevie’s eleventh hit record – he was still only 20 years old.
- Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours featured in the films Now And Then (1996) and You’ve Got Mail (1998).
- During the 2008 US presidential election, Barack Obama’s presidential campaign Signed, Sealed Delivered, I’m Yours was frequently played at campaign events immediately after President Obama’s speeches.
- At Obama’s election night rally at Grant Park in Chicago, the song was one of the first of three songs played to warm up the audience for Obama’s victory speech upon winning the 2008 presidential election. The song was used in the same fashion the Clinton-Gore campaign used Fleetwood Mac‘s hit, “Don’t Stop.”
- Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours lyrics.
Stevie’s only had two #1 UK hit singles. That’s Ebony and Ivory with Paul McCartney (1982) and I Just Called to Say I Love You (1984).