Schizophrenic Musicians

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There are a number of talented musicians who have suffered from schizophrenia at some point in their lives and careers. Here are a few of the more famous schizophrenic musicians:

  • Peter Green, founder of Fleetwood Mac, is a hugely influential musician who happens to suffer from schizophrenia. He left Fleetwood Mac and disappeared from music for a time, spending time in psychiatric hospitals in the 1970s. He has since returned to the music scene, touring in Europe in 2009 and 2010. Green was ranked as number 38 on Rolling Stone's "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time."
  • One of the most prolific and infamous schizophrenic musicians was Wesley Willis, a musician and artist from Chicago who was diagnosised with paranoid schizophrenia. He fronted the band The Wesley Willis Fiasco, and released hundreds of songs as a solo artist. His bizarre and often obscene lyrics gained him a cult following in the 1990s. Willis died of leukemia in 2003, at the age of 40.
  • Drummer and song-writer Jim Gordon is a Grammy-winning artist who worked with many famous musicians of the 1960s and 1970s. He was one of the most sought-after session drummers in LA, and playing with The Beach Boys, The Byrds, Eric Clapton, Frank Zappa, Alice Cooper and others. After hearing voices in the late 1970s, Gordon was treated for alcohol abuse rather than mental illness. In 1983, he murdered his mother and was sentenced to 16 years to life in prison. During his trial, he finally received the correct diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia.
  • Jazz trumpeter Tom Harrell, who has been named jazz trumpeter of the year multiple times by Downbeat Magazine, has suffered from symptoms of schizophrenia his entire adult life. Harrell deals with his schizophrenia by taking medication, and has been extremely influential in the jazz community. He appears on more than 260 albums and has had his compositions published in a number of books. He continues to tour worldwide.
  • Brian Wilson, of The Beach Boys, suffered from well-known substance abuse and mental problems for many years. He was eventually diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, and has undergone much more successful treatment in recent years. He was named one of Rolling Stone's "100 Greatest Singers of All Time" and won a recent Grammy award, in 2005.

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