I heard that Stevie Wonder lost his sense of smell. Is that true?
Yes—but he got better. Blind since infancy, Wonder got into a serious car accident on August 6th, 1973, while on tour in North Carolina. (No, he wasn’t driving.) His cousin John Harris was chauffeuring him from Greenville to Durham on Interstate 85, heading for a concert to benefit a black radio station. Wonder had his headphones on, and was listening to the two-track mix of Innervisions. When a logging truck hit the brakes, Harris tried to swerve around it and didn’t quite succeed. A log on the truck smashed through the windshield and hit Wonder in the face. Wonder was in a coma for four days; his associates knew he was feeling better when he started grabbing at nurses. Only 23 years old, Wonder had lost his sense of smell and gained a scar on his forehead. He simultaneously lost his sense of taste–which some would say explains the existence of “I Just Called to Say I Love You.” Fortunately, Wonder largely recovered. “I lost my sense of smell a little bit, my sense of taste for a minute,” he said. “But I’m pretty straight. I came out at the end of it with the blessing of life.”
(Excerpted from the 2006 book Is Tiny Dancer Really Elton’s Little John?: Music’s Most Enduring Mysteries, Myths, and Rumors Revealed, published by Three Rivers Press, written by Gavin Edwards.)