Roadrunner Records - Slipknot's hard-hitting, aggressive metal anthems are getting…
- Posted on Aug 29th 2008 5:00PM by James Sullivan
Released in early August 1973, his LP 'Innervisions' was the centerpiece of a five-album run that began with the massive hit 'Superstition' and would round out with the 1976 opus 'Songs in the Key of Life.' 'Innervisions' would be the first of three straight Wonder full-lengths to earn Album of the Year Grammys. Despite such heady times, however, upon its release Wonder told a reporter that he was having strange thoughts, fearing for his life.
Three days after the release of 'Innervisions,' the singer, with his cousin John Wesley Harris behind the wheel of a rented sedan, was traveling to a benefit concert for a radio station in North Carolina. After stopping at a Radio Shack, Wonder plugged his reel-to-reel tape machine into the dashboard and was listening on headphones to a two-track mix of his record. Harris, who was following a 1948 Dodge flatbed truck, became distracted. Suddenly the car was running up under the flatbed, which smashed through the passenger's side windshield.
Accounts often claim that a log fell off the truck and struck the car, but Charlie Shepherd, the driver of the truck, had in fact already dropped off a load of logs earlier that day. Shepherd broke both ankles and was bleeding badly. Wonder, hit in the side of the head by the corner of the flatbed, was unresponsive. When two more cars in his entourage pulled up, his brother loaded the singer into another vehicle and rushed him to the local hospital.
One of Wonder's close friends recalled that his head seemed to be swollen five times its normal size. The friend, his longtime publicist, claimed he woke the singer by bellowing 'Higher Ground' -- his new song about reincarnation -- in his ear.
When Wonder came to, he was temporarily deprived of his senses of smell and taste. Besides significant facial wounds, he learned he'd suffered a "bruise on the brain." He thought about plastic surgery, then decided against it. "I just let it be one of the scars of life I went though," he said years later.
"I remember we left, and you're never supposed to leave the scene of an accident," Wonder recalled in a 2004 interview. "At the hospital, the doctors said that if they hadn't moved me, I would have died."
At the local newspaper, a police reporter was dumbstruck to learn that the accident had involved an internationally famous R&B singer. "Pardon my French," he said, "but who the hell is Stevie Wonder?"