The Beathovens is the only band in the UK whose members are all on the
autism spectrum and are living in full time care.
Now, nearly twenty years after its formation, the band is releasing its
first ever single, a Christmas song called Warm Hearts and Wine which
is available on iTunes from 12 December. Also available will be two
further singles from the band, Growing Up in the Seventies and My Life.
The Beathovens have a long history of smashing expectations and breaking
stereotypes, writing their own songs and performing live with panache.
They’ve perfected their own style – an individual twist of rap- rock –
and have played with Jools Holland twice – at Cambridge University in
2006 and the Savoy Theatre in 2008 – and appeared at a Welsh music
festival with Bob Geldof in 2003. In 2007 they won a regional battle of
the bands contest. They’ve even played at Glastonbury.
The seven-strong band meets weekly to practice at a church in
Bromborough, Wirral, under the guidance of performing arts specialists
from charity Autism Together, which supports around 500 people on the
autism spectrum across the North West. In 2015 Autism Together won a
national award for outstanding adult services.
The track Warm Hearts and Wine was written by the band following a
conversation about Christmas and the winter months. Once the lyrics were
on paper, band member Paul Earl wrote the melody very quickly.
Growing Up in the Seventies was originally penned as a poem by band
member Amanda Jenkins and recalls with humour and clarity the era of
glam rock, strikes and chopper bikes. Amanda also recalls writing a poem
in school called Too Cold to Go about visiting the toilets – it was
read on Radio Merseyside in 1972.
The band was originally formed as the Rolling Beathovens with the aim of
allowing anyone with an autistic spectrum condition to communicate and
interact through the shared experience of music. As bass player and
founding member Paul Earl said, “The thing about playing songs is
expressing our feelings.”
Lead singer AJ (Alan Jolliffe) said, “Having autism means I find it
difficult to communicate with anyone. When we are on stage we
communicate with everyone. Music lets me be who I want to be. Having
autism makes you not be able to do some things, but in The Beathovens we
are saying we are here, this is who we are.”
Autism Together Activity Manager Dean Ravera, who manages the band,
said, “Getting iTunes distribution is a huge step forward for us. This
is a group of people who’ve come together through a love of music and
created their own, unique, art form – and it’s genuinely carrying a
message about what’s achievable by people with autism.”
The singles can be purchased on iTunes for 99p each or £2.97 for all
three tracks from 12 December. A limited edition CD can be purchased for
£7 from Bromborough Pool garden centre (3 & 4 _The Green, Bromborough
Pool_ Village, Wirral).