Rufus Wonder

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Best known for the Northern soul favorite "Under the Moon," singer Rufus Wonder was born Matthew Breckenridge in Bossier City, Louisiana. Raised by his aunt and uncle, he spent much of his adolescence…
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Best known for the Northern soul favorite "Under the Moon," singer Rufus Wonder was born Matthew Breckenridge in Bossier City, Louisiana. Raised by his aunt and uncle, he spent much of his adolescence in California singing in church, local theater groups, and his Fresno high school choir. After graduation he briefly moved to Los Angeles before joining the U.S. Navy. Assigned to the USS Badoeng Strait aircraft carrier, Breckenridge formed a vocal group dubbed the Blenders and around this same time he adopted his stage name. (He borrowed "Rufus" from his father and "Wonder" from a ski shop in Shreveport, Louisiana.) After receiving his discharge, Wonder returned to L.A. and joined the Ripps. Upon the group's breakup, he mounted a solo career and worked the San Francisco club circuit before his relocation to Chicago, finally settling in Detroit in 1965. There he signed to Frank I. Robinson and Clifford Dickerson's tiny Lando label and cut 1966's "Under the Moon" with a backing group dubbed the Additions. Though now a cult classic among rare soul cognoscenti, the record earned little attention upon its original release and Wonder returned to the West Coast. In the years to follow, Wonder worked as a television cameraman, a bellhop, and a floral delivery man, where his duties included delivering orchids each week to the grave of Marilyn Monroe at the behest of Joe DiMaggio. In 1972 Wonder learned he had glaucoma, although the condition did not fully affect him for close to two decades. By that time he owned an Oakland-based printing business, and when he went blind in 1999, he returned to songwriting. An online search clued him to his fame among Britain's Northern soul circuit and he performed overseas regularly. Wonder also formed his own label, Oh! O'Star Records, to release his new material, including Tell Me So and The Radiant One.