Rocks Off is a big fan of celebrating the more obscure holidays, and today we made a wreath out of thorazine and our own hair to commemorate World Mental Health Day. Begun in 1992, the goal of the day is to bring some awareness and advocacy to various mental health problems across the globe. More than 150 countries worldwide participate, and some actually turn it into a whole Mental Health Week.
We're here to do our part. Here's our five favorite tunes about shining on like a crazy diamond.
Rose Kennedy was the mother of President John F. Kennedy. Trapped in a loveless marriage to a man who cheated on her, she was under constant stress and was prescribed a bewildering array of tranquilizers. "Rose K." is about her final years after a massive stroke confined her to a wheelchair and severely retarded her mental facilities.
Rose's daughter Rosemary also suffered from mental problems. She showed signs of slowness as a child, and became aggressive and wayward as a teenager and young adult. Her father had an unnecessary lobotomy performed in an attempt to rein her in, and she spent the rest of her life incapacitated.
Young Rosemary Kennedy got us thinking about how her story is somewhat paralleled in Suicidal Tendencies' "Institutionalized." What is crazy, anyway? That's part of what World Mental Health Day is all about, learning the signs of true mental illness as opposed to maybe just really wanting a Pepsi.
Dwight Frye was known for playing mentally unstable characters in early horror films, the most famous of which is Renfield in Tod Browning's Dracula. Alice's tune is told from the point of view of these characters, and often involve him being put in a straitjacket onstage. It may be blasphemy, but we've always preferred the version from Brutally Live more than the original, despite being only half as long.
Love him (we don't) or hate him (we do), Eminem is one of the most influential rappers ever, and "Stan" may be his best work. Lots of artists have written songs about obsessed fans, and sometimes things get quite out of hand. Anyone remember when someone tried to send Bjork an acid bomb?
Eminem's chronicle of a depressed man's descent into suicidal depression and projection onto an icon remains one of the most disturbingly real portrayals of a psychosis that led to the murders of John Lennon and "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott among others.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Originally released by Napoleon XIV, "They're Coming to Take Me Away" has the dubious distinction of being the song that has dropped the furthest in the Top 40. After it hit No. 3 on the charts, radio programmers began banning the song fearing that there would be a backlash from groups who might think the song was a mocking the mentally ill. The track dropped to No. 37 the next week.
We went with the Nueroticfish version over the original because it rocks a bit more and we have a nurse fetish. Oh, and by the way, did you know this song was about a man who has a breakdown because his dog ran away? Neither did we.