Fans are sharing a clip of Terry Hall discussing mental health in the wake of The Specials frontman’s death.
The singer died on December 18 at the age of 63. In a statement announcing his death, his bandmates described him as “a beautiful friend, brother and one of the most brilliant singers, songwriters and lyricists this country has ever produced”.
As fans remember the ska icon, a clip from a 2019 interview with BBC 6 Music’s Mary-Anne Hobbs has begun to do the rounds online. In the two-minute snippet, Hall discusses his experiences with depression and finding joy in small things.
“I didn’t realise I was spending the first 50 years of my life in this bubble called depression and people told me about it, but I had no idea what I was doing,” he said. “And then 10 years ago, I had to get attention because of an incident and I found a doctor, and she’s been with me for 10 years and she’s got me out of this bubble and said, ‘You’ve got an illness, but we can deal with it’.”
Hall continued to explain how his life had changed since, saying that “at least the last five years” had been “unbelievably brilliant and appreciating things on a different level, which I never thought I would”. “Like really simple things – like on the way in here, I saw a folding bike and that has made my day that you can fold a bike to that size,” he said. “It’s like origami. But just that level and if I get one thing like that every day then I’m so happy. So happy.”
He added: “People always say to me, ‘You got a number one record, you were handed this, why don’t you smile?’ I don’t know why I didn’t smile but that folding bike made me smile and there you go. That’s me, I think really.” Listen to the clip in full here.
Hall had previously opened up about his struggles with depression and addiction, which began after he was abducted by a paedophile ring and sexually abused in the ‘70s. “I was sort of drugged up then on valium for about a year and I didn’t go to school,” he explained in 2019. “I mean, I suffer from manic depression and avoided all sorts of medication for a long time, then 10 years ago, I started taking Lithium and stuff and I’m still on these drugs. And it sort of helps, it sort of helps.”
Writing about the importance of Hall speaking out about his experiences in an obituary for the singer, NME’s Mark Beaumont wrote: “As harrowing a story as it was, it was one we needed to hear – that anything is survivable, no issue insurmountable, any burden possible to shed. Where so many sufferers campaign for better understanding from the midst of their struggles, Hall spoke out as a beacon of light at the end of the tunnel.”
Following Hall’s death being announced, his Specials bandmate Horace Panter shared more details on the star’s last days, explaining that the pair and Specials guitarist Lynval Golding had planned to record a reggae album in LA in early November.
“Terry had the framework for 8 tunes,” Panter wrote on Facebook. “Confidence was high. We were set to meet up with Nikolaj [Larsen, Specials keyboardist] and make magic. This was in September. Terry e-mails everyone and says he’s in bed with a stomach bug and can’t do the first week of pre-production sessions. No big deal, we can knock everything back a week. We’re not due to fly out until November 4th.”
He continued to say that Hall hadn’t recovered the week after and that, on October 2, Panter received a phone call from the band’s manager informing him that Hall had been diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas, which had spread to his liver.
Since Hall’s death, fans and artists have been paying tribute to the legend. Fans have shared footage from his last gig with The Specials, while Damon Albarn posted a musical tribute to the musician, who collaborated with Gorillaz on the 2001 track ‘911’. Coventry City football club, meanwhile, honoured the star with a digital banner at a recent match.
For help and advice on mental health:
- ‘Am I depressed?‘ – Help and advice on mental health and what to do next
- Help Musicians UK – Around the clock mental health support and advice for musicians
- Music Support Org – Help and support for musicians struggling with alcoholism, addiction, or mental health issues
- YOUNG MINDS – The voice for young people’s health and wellbeing
- CALM – The Campaign Against Living Miserably for young men
- Time To Change – Let’s end mental health discrimination
- The Samaritans – Confidential support 24 hours a day