Music Artists Who, Like Roky Erickson, Have Struggled With Mental Illness
Late singer-songwriter John Denver battled severe depression for many years, which he tried to self-medicate through drugs and alcohol. From a 1979 People magazine article:
A complicated and intense man (for all his onstage cheerfulness), Denver admits that his Rocky Mountain highs "have been balanced by incredible lows. When I get depressed," he admits, "I question whether life is worth living."
In his 1994 autobiography, Take Me Home, Denver detailed his substance abuse and revealed a suicide attempt. Denver died in a plane crash in 1997, at age 53, while flying solo off the coast of California. Some speculated that the crash was a suicide, but the NTSB determined that he lost control of the aircraft while attempting to switch fuel tanks.
Legendary Kinks frontman Ray Davies has long dealt with bipolar disorder, and has attempted suicide. From the biography Ray Davies: Not Like Everybody Else:
Bouts of depression have plagued Davies throughout his life, even during seemingly successful periods. In the early spring of 1966, after a string of UK and international hits, there was some talk that Davies needed help and that a temporary stay in a sanatorium might be necessary for the young but fragile and overworked rising star. Manager Robert Wace said that 1965 was "a very bad year for Ray ... he was very, very unstable." But Wace and co-manager Grenville Collins convinced the family that Ray would be secure under their watch, a duty they assumed diligently. "It is not easy being Ray Davies," one close to him told me. "Under all the brilliance is torture. But without the torture we wouldn't have the great art."