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The Specials Frontman Was 63 – The Hollywood Reporter

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Terry Hall, the frontman of influential U.K. ska band the Specials and later a member of new wave pop act Fun Boy Three, has died. He was 63.

“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,” said a tweeted statement from the Special’s official account. “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 humour, the fight for justice, but mostly the love.”

As the lead singer of the politically and socially conscious Specials, Hall achieved U.K. fame and cult status through songs such as “Ghost Town,” “Gangsters” and “Too Much Too Young.” With Fun Boy Three he enjoyed chart success with the songs “Summertime” and the Bananarama featuring hits “‘Tain’t What You Do (It’s the Way That You Do It)” and “Really Saying Something.”

orn Terrence Edward Hall on Mar. 19, 1959 in Coventry, England, his parents worked in the car industry. Hall was traumatized as a schoolboy after he was abducted by a paedophile ring at age 12 and taken to France where he was sexually abused and later abandoned. In interviews, Hall has said the incident left him scarred for life and caused life-long depression, forcing him to drop out of school at 14 after becoming addicted to Valium.

The young Hall found work as a manual laborer, his only escape coming through music. He played with local punk bands, including the Squad, before being spotted by Jerry Dammers who asked him to become the frontman of his ska revival band, the Coventry Automatics who in early 1979 would change their name to the Specials. He featured on the Specials’ first single, “Gangsters,” which garnered the band attention after radio play on the BBC.

The Specials’ eponymous debut record followed in October 1979. Produced by Elvis Costello, and released on Dammers’ indie label 2 Tone Records, The Specials featured only one charting single, a cover of Dandy Livingstone’s “A Message to You, Rudy” and initially had mixed reviews, but since its release has become a classic and socially significant record. Released at a time of high youth unemployment in the U.K. as well as race riots, strikes and callous Thatcherite economic reforms, the album tapped into the pervasive feeling of despair in the country and the barely concealed tensions within society. In 2013, NME ranked The Specials at number 260 on its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

More to come…



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Terry Hall, the frontman of influential U.K. ska band the Specials and later a member of new wave pop act Fun Boy Three, has died. He was 63.

“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,” said a tweeted statement from the Special’s official account. “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 humour, the fight for justice, but mostly the love.”

As the lead singer of the politically and socially conscious Specials, Hall achieved U.K. fame and cult status through songs such as “Ghost Town,” “Gangsters” and “Too Much Too Young.” With Fun Boy Three he enjoyed chart success with the songs “Summertime” and the Bananarama featuring hits “‘Tain’t What You Do (It’s the Way That You Do It)” and “Really Saying Something.”

orn Terrence Edward Hall on Mar. 19, 1959 in Coventry, England, his parents worked in the car industry. Hall was traumatized as a schoolboy after he was abducted by a paedophile ring at age 12 and taken to France where he was sexually abused and later abandoned. In interviews, Hall has said the incident left him scarred for life and caused life-long depression, forcing him to drop out of school at 14 after becoming addicted to Valium.

The young Hall found work as a manual laborer, his only escape coming through music. He played with local punk bands, including the Squad, before being spotted by Jerry Dammers who asked him to become the frontman of his ska revival band, the Coventry Automatics who in early 1979 would change their name to the Specials. He featured on the Specials’ first single, “Gangsters,” which garnered the band attention after radio play on the BBC.

The Specials’ eponymous debut record followed in October 1979. Produced by Elvis Costello, and released on Dammers’ indie label 2 Tone Records, The Specials featured only one charting single, a cover of Dandy Livingstone’s “A Message to You, Rudy” and initially had mixed reviews, but since its release has become a classic and socially significant record. Released at a time of high youth unemployment in the U.K. as well as race riots, strikes and callous Thatcherite economic reforms, the album tapped into the pervasive feeling of despair in the country and the barely concealed tensions within society. In 2013, NME ranked The Specials at number 260 on its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

More to come…

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