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Terry Hall, singer with ska icons The Specials, dies at 63



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LONDON — Musician Terry Hall, who helped create the defining sounds of post-punk England as lead singer of The Specials, has died. He was 63.

The band announced late Monday that Hall had passed away after a brief illness. It calls him “our beautiful friend, brother, and one of the finest singers, songwriters and lyricists this country has ever produced.”

Hall joined the band that would become The Specials in the English Midlands city of Coventry in the late 1970s, a time of racial tension, economic dismal and urban unrest. With a mix of Black and white members and Jamaican-influenced cap and dress styles, the band became leaders of the anti-racist 2 Tone ska renaissance movement. ethnicity.

With Hall’s curt vocals setting the tone, The Specials captured the uneasy mood of the times in songs including “A Message to You, Rudy,” “Rat Race” and “Too Much Too Young” .”

The band’s most iconic song is the melancholy, menacing “Ghost Town,” which topped the UK music charts in the summer of 1981 when British cities erupted in riots.

The Specials had seven UK Top 10 hits before Hall and band members Neville Staple and Lynval Golding left in 1981 to form the electronic outfit Fun Boy Three. It scored hits including “It Ain’t What You Do (It’s The Way That You Do It”) and “The Tunnel of Love.”

Hall later formed The Colourfield and other bands, and collaborated with artists including The Go-Go’s, who co-wrote the group’s 1981 debut single, “Our Lips Are Sealed”, which was also recorded. Sounded by Fun Boy Three.

Jane Wiedlin, guitarist for Go-Go, remembers Hall as “a lovely, sensitive, talented and unique person.”

“Our incredibly brief romance led to the song Our Lips Are Sealed, a song that will forever tie us together in music history. Horrible to hear this,” she wrote on Twitter.

Singer-songwriter Elvis Costello also offered condolences, saying, “Terry’s voice was the perfect instrument for the real and necessary songs on ‘The Specials.’ That honesty is heard in so many of his songs in joy and sorrow.

Most of the original Specials reunited in 2008, held their 30th anniversary tour in 2009, and in 2019 released a new material album, “Encore”, which became a digital album. 1 in the UK’s first band. A sequel, “Songs of Protestation 1924-2012,” was released in 2021.

Hall’s bandmates said he was “an amazing husband and father and one of the kindest, funniest, and most genuine of souls. His music and performances encapsulate the essence of life… joy, pain, humor, struggle for justice, but above all love.”

“All those who knew and loved him and those who left behind the gift of outstanding music and profound humanity will miss him immensely. Terry often leaves the stage at the end of The Specials’ life-affirming performances with three words… ‘Love Love Love.’”

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