The Specials’ Twitter account recently announced the death of Terry Hall, one of its founding members. The 63-year-old star from Coventry had been a part of the iconic ska band for decades, but had endured a series of traumatic events throughout his life. It all started when he was kidnapped when he was a 12-year-old boy, before he was sexually abused.
Speaking on a podcast in 2019, Hall revealed: “At the age of 12 I was kidnapped by a pedophile ring in France and that was really eye-opening. And I can laugh about it now, but something changed in my head and it’s like I don’t have to do that and that’s when I started not listening to anyone.”
Telling his story to Richard Herring, Hall explained that he was kidnapped by his French teacher at the time. After an undisclosed amount of time, Hall revealed that he was later attacked and abandoned.
The mental strain of this traumatic experience was obviously too much for the boy. As a result, he began taking drugs to deal with the experience.
Hall told Spectator: “I was addicted to Valium. Which meant I didn’t go to school, I didn’t do anything. I sat on my bed rocking for eight months.”
Hall dropped out of school at age 15. He suffered from drug abuse and alcoholism, as well as depression.
In 2004, at age 59, Hall “attempted suicide.” This later led to a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, prompting his reunion with The Specials after leaving the band a few years earlier.
He openly admitted that it took years of treatment and medication to help him get over the trauma he endured as a child.
Hall also sang about his problems in one of his side projects. After joining the 1980s band Fun Boy Three, she wrote the heartbreaking song Well Fancy That.
In the powerful song, Hall crooned, “The hedge you dragged me through threw me into a nervous breakdown / If I could have read, what was going on inside your head, I would have said I was blind to your twisted mind / There’s no excuse, except your abuse and the scars it leaves.”
He also spoke about the song, Well Fancy That, saying, “The only way I could deal with the experience was to write about it, in a song. It was very difficult for me to write, but I wanted to communicate my feelings.”
Hall’s death was announced overnight by The Specials. They said the star lost his life after a “brief illness”.
The band’s statement read: “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing, after a brief illness, of Terry, our beautiful friend, brother, and one of the most brilliant singer-songwriters and lyricists this country has produced. Terry was a wonderful husband and father and one of the kindest, funniest, most genuine souls.His music and performances encapsulated the very essence of life…the joy, the pain, the humor, the fight for justice, but most of all love”.
The Specials continued: “He will be sorely missed by all who knew and loved him and leaves behind the gift of his remarkable music and profound humanity. Terry often left the stage at the end of The Specials’ life-affirming shows with three words: …’Love Love Love’.”
They added: “We ask that everyone respect the privacy of the family at this very sad time.”
Hall is survived by his wife, Jeannette Hall, and their two sons, Theo and Felix.
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