The most singular accomplishment, as you'll see across the above gallery of 10 Best Stevie Wonder Albums, is this music's honesty. More so than the Grammy Awards and the platinum sales, Wonder's songs have given us something very real on which to build -- in particular when times were hard.

Stevie Wonder, most notably at his '70s-era zenith, has been a pathway toward moral emancipation -- emancipation from racial hatred, since we all listened to him, as one; and from fear, since his artistic peak arrived during a period of war and strife in this country; and from expectations, since many of his best albums were only possible because he loosed himself from the music business’ hitmaking machine.

Of course, you also heard the unambiguous joy with which Wonder approached his own story (through the hard times; despite them, really). He approached things with a particular grace, and this too is something largely unique to Stevie Wonder. You saw, if only for a glimpse of time, into his life, but you saw into your own, as well. That only comes through hard artistic choices, through honesty -- not only about his memory of childhood, and its innocence, but also the missteps and the lessons of that time for all of us.

It was, and is, Stevie Wonder’s greatest gift -- as heard on an almost unfathomably consistent run of albums between 1972's Music of My Mind and 1976's Songs in the Key of Life (all of which find a home in our gallery of 10 Best Stevie Wonder Albums), but also inside projects from before and after.

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