Musicians With Disabilities Part 2

By: R.A.

As a continuation to my earlier writing on this, let’s take a look at some other famous musicians with disabilities.

Brian Wilson, lead singer of the Beach Boys.  On top of singing backing vocals, Brian was the bands songwriter and he played keyboard, bass and sometimes he was lead singer.  But not many people are aware Brian is mostly deaf in one ear and he has a schizo affective disorder. 

The name The Cadillacs should be a familiar name with a few readers at least.  Teddy Pendergrass, who started on the drums with the band before he became lead singer,  In 1982 Teddy was involved in an accident and is now paralysed down his left side with very limited arm usage.

Another singer deaf in one ear, is Michael Bolton. Most notably known for his soft rock ballads, as well as his past a heavy metal singer for Blackjack, many don’t know that Bolton is deaf in one ear. He first came to the music scene after co-writing How Am I Supposed to Live Without You?.  Michael had several more big hits in the 80s.

Tony Iommi from Black Sabbath needs a mention here.  Tony is Black Sabbath’s longest standing original member.  At the age of 19 after an industrial factory accident, Tony lost the tips of his middle and ring finger on his right hand.  To compensate for his, Tony needed finger tops.  Out comes plastic soap bottles, melt them a bit, mold them to fingers, carve and shape them and hey presto, very suitable for playing guitar, just add leather to them and Tony is all set.

Curtis Mayfield, another golden oldie, famous in the 1950’s 60’s and 70s, sang and played several instruments. In 1990, a lighting rig collapsed with Curtis underneath.  His injuries stopped him playing musical instruments but he still went on to write one more album.

Rick Allan, drummer of Def Leopard, lost an arm after a car accident, but he kept playing drums on a specially designed drum kit for one armed use. 

Ray Charles sang, acted and played piano.  He was called genius by Frank Sinatra, and he appeared in films like The Blue Brothers, to name one.

A 22 time Grammy Award winner must get a mention.  Stevie Wonder, blind from birth, a member of Mo town at age 11, had a string of 30 U.S. top 10s in his singing career.  He was also inducted into the Rock and Roll and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. 

While we’re on the subject of golden oldies, the king of them all must get a mention. Ludwig Van Beethoven, the German Classical music composer, started to lose his hearing but still continued to play, conduct and compose.  And even when he was totally deaf, he still played.

You can find more details on the above here.

Another good example showing again how people can get past their disability.  With a little determination, patience and enthusiasm, anything is possible. 

The subject matter to this article, musicians with disabilities, is an ongoing story, stay tuned for further updates as my playlist keeps on diversifying.

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