Terry Hall, lead singer for British ska revivalists The Specials, has died at age 63.
The news was confirmed by the band via social media.
"It is with great sadness that we announce the passing, following a brief illness, of Terry, our beautiful friend, brother and one of the most brilliant singers, songwriters and lyricists this country has ever produced," reads the post. "Terry was a wonderful husband and father and one of the kindest, funniest and most genuine of souls. His music and his performances encapsulated the very essence of life … the joy, the pain, the humor, the fight for justice, but mostly the love. He will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him and leaves behind the gift of his remarkable music and profound humanity."
In the late 1970s, The Specials kick-started the 2-Tone movement which spurred a ska-punk revolution, championing racial unity and understanding for decades to come. Comprised of Terry Hall and Neville Staple on vocals, Lynval Golding and Roddy Radiation on guitars, Horace Panter on bass, Jerry Dammers on keyboards, John Bradbury on drums, and Dick Cuthell and Rico Rodriguez on horns – The Specials were a multi-racial and multi-talented group that formed a snapshot of urban youth in a late 70s UK.
The group found their first success at radio in 1979 with their single Gangsters - a reworking of the 1964 ska song Al Capone by Prince Buster that was inspired by life on the road with The Clash.
The Specials | ‘Gangsters’
Gangsters was The Specials first Top 10 hit in the UK, followed quickly by two more hits from the debut album, A Message to You Rudy and Too Much Too Young. Their second album More Specials, arrived just one year later with another three hits, including Do Nothing, Stereotype and Rat Race.
The Specials | ‘A Message To You Rudy’
In 1981, they released what would be Hall’s last single with the band Ghost Town, a manifesto of urban decline that gave them a No. 1 hit .
That fiery energy shines through The Specials’ live performance of ska legend, Dandy Livingstone’s A Message to You, Rudy on The Old Grey Whistle Test.
RIP Terry Hall.
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