The Specials’ Twitter account recently announced the death of Terry Hall, one of their founding members. The 63-year-old star from Coventry had been a part of the iconic ska band for decades but had endured a number of traumatic events throughout his life. It all began when he was kidnapped as a 12-year-old boy, before enduring sexual abuse.
Speaking on a podcast in 2019, Hall revealed: “At 12 I got abducted by a paedophile ring in France and that was a real eye-opener. And I can laugh about it now but it sort of switched something in my head and it’s like I don’t have to do that and that’s when I started, like, not listening to anyone.”
Telling his story to Richard Herring, Hall explained that he was abducted by his French teacher at the time. After an undisclosed amount of time, Hall revealed he was later attacked and abandoned.
The mental strain of this traumatic experience was obviously too much for the child. 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 just sat on my bed rocking for eight months.”
Hall dropped out of school aged 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, which prompted his reunion with The Specials after quitting the band some years prior.
He openly admitted that it took years of treatment and medication to help him get over the trauma he endured as a young boy.
Hall also sang about his issues in one of his side projects. After joining the 1980s band Fun Boy Three, he wrote the harrowing song Well Fancy That.
In the powerful song, Hall crooned: “The hedge that you dragged me through led to a nervous breakdown / If I could have read, what was going on inside your head, I would have said, that I was blind to your devious mind / There’s no excuse, but your abuse, and the scars that 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 “short illness”.
The band’s statement read: “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing, following a brief illness, of Terry, our beautiful friend, brother and one of the most brilliant singers, songwriters and lyricists this country has ever produced. Terry was a wonderful husband and father and one of the kindest, funniest, and most genuine of souls. His music and his performances encapsulated the very essence of life… the joy, the pain, the humour, the fight for justice, but mostly the love.”
The Specials went on: “He will be deeply 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 would ask that everyone respect the family’s privacy at this very sad time.”
Hall is survived by his wife, Jeannette Hall, and his two sons, Theo and Felix.
For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116 123 or visit a local Samaritans branch.
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