The Specials’ frontman Terry Hall is remembered for his “remarkable music and deep humanity” after his death at the age of 63.
The ska-inspired singer “embodied the essence of life through his music,” said his bandmates, whose enduring hits include “Too Much Too Young,” “Ghost Town,” “Rat Race” and “A Message To You, Rudy.” .
The specials rose to fame in the 1970s, and after their breakup in 1981, Hall worked with the likes of Lily Allen and Damon Albarn.
A statement on the band’s Twitter account said: “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Terry, our wonderful friend, brother and one of the most brilliant singer, songwriter and lyricist this country has ever produced, following a short illness .
“Terry was a wonderful husband and father and one of the kindest, funniest and genuine souls. His music and performances embodied the essence of life.”
Formed in Hall’s hometown of Coventry in 1977, the Specials became the multi-ethnic flagship of the 2 Tone movement with songs about racism, unemployment and injustice.
The band originally consisted of Jerry Dammers, Lynval Golding and Horace Panter, with Hall, Neville Staple, Roddy Byers and John Bradbury joining a year later.
After their split, Hall, Golding and Staple formed Fun Boy Three, who had four top ten singles – including Really Saying Something with Bananarama – until Hall’s departure in 1983 and formed The Colourfield.
The Specials regrouped for a tour in 2009 to celebrate their 30th anniversary and in 2018 they supported the Rolling Stones with a gig in Coventry.
The following year they released Encore, the band’s first album of new material in 37 years. It went straight to No. 1, marking the first time The Specials had topped the charts since the classic single Ghost Town in 1981.
Encore’s lead track, the politically themed Vote For Me, was seen by some fans as a sequel to Ghost Town, which was hailed as popular social commentary after it was released across England during the 1981 riots.
Hall told The Big Issue in 2019, “I’m in awe of the mess, every night I listen to politicians giving their opinions and I’m like, ‘I really don’t trust any of you.’
“It’s pretty sad. I grew up quite strongly associated with one party, the Labor Party. I knew exactly where I stood until Tony Blair made Noel Gallagher Prime Minister.’
The Specials’ latest release, Protest Songs 1924-2012, came out in October last year.
The album, launched by Hall, Panter, Golding and co-producer Nikolaj Torp Larsen, had been put on hold due to Covid-19 – with the tumultuous events of the pandemic inspiring its content.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/12/21/bandmates-pay-tribute-to-the-specials-terry-hall-17972652/ Bandmates pay tribute to The Specials' Terry Hall