One of the biggest names in the history of Detroit music received a heartfelt surprise over the holiday season. Motown legend Stevie Wonder was honored late last month by the city of Detroit after they unveiled the renaming of a street to "Stevie Wonder Ave," Now isn't that lovely?
And the section of the street that now bears the famous singer's name isn't just in any old part of the city, but rather close to a place that holds very special meaning for the multi-Grammy winner. At the corners of Milwaukee Avenue and Woodward, just a mile or so from Motown Record's original headquarters, and only two blocks from the location of Wonder's first Detroit home, the sign was unveiled while the musician was present.
Wonder originally moved to the Motor City from his birthplace of Saginaw back in the early 1960s. He was just a young man then looking to make it big in the music industry, though he had one clear advantage: talent. Stevie Wonder would go on to become one of the biggest names in music during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, and since, and has always looked out and supported his hometown of Detroit. During the ceremony, in which Wonder answered questions from reporters after the street sign reveal, Wonder was clearly touched by the city's gesture.
"I know things can't last forever, but I'm going to freeze this moment in my mind and make it last," Wonder told fans and reports.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Detroit, and Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones were also a part of the ceremony, which was approved back in 2015. Nearly 400 others were on-hand to brave the cold weather to see the legendary artist. During the event, Wonder also announced that he would be having his annual children's benefit show, the House Full of Toys holiday concert, to Detroit in 2017. The show has been a Los Angeles tradition for nearly two decades and raises money for less-fortunate children.
Of course, no Stevie Wonder appearance would be complete without the star himself belting out a bit of an impromptu tune. As he smiled brightly, Wonder spoke about Detroit and broke out into an emotional rendition of "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" while fans watched. It was truly a special moment for the musical history of a very musical city.
For more information on Stevie Wonder, please check out our artist profile here.