The Specials’ Terry Hall: ‘I was abducted aged 12’

Terry HallImage copyright PA
Image caption Terry Hall of The Specials said he had depression after being kidnapped

The Specials singer Terry Hall has said he was kidnapped in France as a child.

“At 12 I got abducted by a paedophile ring in France and that was a real eye-opener,” he told Richard Herring on his podcast.

The 59-year-old said he lived with depression as a result and dropped out of education at 14.

“I was sort of drugged up then on Valium for about a year and I didn’t go to school,” he added.

He told Herring on the Leicester Square Theatre podcast that he then drifted into jobs like bricklaying before joining a punk band called Squad.

Hall was inspired by the likes of The Clash and The Sex Pistols, who he saw on tour with some friends in the 1970s.

The Coventry-born singer then joined The Coventry Automatics in 1977, who later became The Specials.

He left the band in the early 1980s to start the group Fun Boy Three with fellow former members Neville Staple and Lynval Golding.

Despite his success, he says the traumatic event in his early childhood has affected him his whole life.

It’s not the first time Hall has spoken about the abduction, in fact it was mentioned in Fun Boy Three’s song Well Fancy That, which detailed how the abuse was at the hands of a teacher.

The lyrics included, “You took me to France on the promise of teaching me French”.

In conversation with Herring, he said: “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 not listening to anyone.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Terry Hall performed with The Specials in 1980

“I find it quite easy to forgive and forget. It’s like, you know, going back to my abduction, it’s like you can let that eat away at you but then well you know it’s paedophilia and it’s like part of life really.”

The singer, who released new album Encore with The Specials on Friday, 37 years after the release of Ghost Town, said that despite the trauma he had learned some lessons from the experience.

“It’s unfortunate it happened to me but you can’t just let it destroy your life, it’s not good,” he said.

“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.”

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