The challenges faced by famous songwriters and musicians who battle schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is a chronic and extreme brain disorder where individuals affected with this disorder may hear voices that other people don’t hear and believe people and other forces are plotting against them by reading their thoughts and taking control of them. This condition can have a severe effect on a person’s everyday life and especially so when their life is affected by fame and fortune. Schizophrenic musicians have had their share of ups and downs through history. Read on to gain insight on the life of 10 famous musicians who battled with schizophrenia.
The former front man of Pink Floyd dominated the band during their beginning years, writing most of their incredible songs and providing lead vocals and lead guitar talent to the band. His excessive drug use was cited as one of the reasons for his erratic behavior while performing on stage. On an interview on Pat Boone’s show, his reply to all of Boone’s questions was an empty blank stare. He’d also turn up at practice without his instruments and break equipment and on occasions, wasn’t able to even hold his guitar pick properly. On 26 January 1968, the band members decided to continue the band without Barrett after not picking him up for a practice session. Experts who reviewed Barrett’s history saw he suffered from schizophrenia and the excessive use of psychoactive drugs was a catalyst in aggravating the condition. Barrett continued to make some music after leaving the band but he soon disappeared from the public eye completely.
Jim Gordon is a Grammy award winning American musician and songwriter. He was the most sought after session drummers in LA in the 60’s and 70’s collaborating with Derek and the Dominos, Little Richard and Delaney & Bonnie. He also played the drums on George Harrison and John Lennon’s albums. Later, Gordon began to hear voices, especially his mother’s, forcing him to starve himself. The voices even kept him from sleeping or playing the drums. He was diagnosed with acute schizophrenia and in 1983, he stabbed his mother with a hammer leading to his being sentenced to California Medical Facility prison for 16 years where he is currently serving his sentence.
Wilson is the Grammy Award winning former co-founder and former front man of the band, the Beach Boys. In the 60’s, he suffered multiple nervous breakdowns and his erratic behavior created tensions within the band leading to decreased contribution to the Beach Boys. It is believed that his excessive drug use and a heart attack were triggers for his schizoaffective disorder. He still suffers from auditory hallucinations and has been diagnosed as mildly depressive with schizoaffective disorder. After treating his condition for years, he returned as a solo artist and was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He continues his life as a musician even today whilst controlling his problems.
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