The Specials lead singer Terry Hall passes away at 63
Lead singer of English ska band The Specials, Terry Hall has passed away at the age of 63 following an unspecified brief illness. The news of his demise was confirmed by the band on social media.
“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,” the band’s statement reads.
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. (2/4)
— The Specials (@thespecials) December 19, 2022
According to Variety, a US-based news outlet, The Automatics, which later became The Specials, was founded in 1977. Hall joined the group in 1979, taking Tim Strickland’s place as the vocalist. Following their live tour support of the Clash, the 2 Tone Band gained notoriety. Singles like “Gangsters” and “Ghost Town” helped the group reach its height of fame in the early 1980s.
The hit song “Ghost Town” notably achieved commercial popularity during the summer of 1981, when riots between young Black people and the police broke out all throughout the United Kingdom in protest of racial discrimination and criticism of stop-and-search procedures. The group performed at benefit shows for anti-racist organisations as part of the Rock Against Racism movement. Their other notable songs included the cover “A Message to You, Rudy” and “Doesn’t Make it Alright.”
Following the success of “Ghost Town” in 1981, the band split. According to earlier reports, Hall was unhappy with the band’s ascension to more financial prominence. Along with fellow Specials musicians Lynval Golding and Neville Staple, Hall founded Fun Boy Three in 1983. They then went on to establish the Colourfield.
Despite not participating in the Specials reunion from 1993 to 1998, Hall later toured with them in 2009 to celebrate their 30th anniversary. The loss of drummer John Bradbury and the exits of Staple and guitarist Roddy Radiation caused the band to experience a period of instability in the years that followed. “Protest Songs 1924-2012,” the band’s last album with Hall, was released in 2021.
On March 19, 1959, Hall was born in Coventry, England, and in addition to being a well-known football player, he was also regarded as an intellectually talented child. After receiving treatment for his manic disorder, Hall started playing in a punk band named Squad that drew significantly from the Clash and the Sex Pistols. A significant catalyst for Hall’s decision to pursue singing was David Bowie’s album “Young Americans” from 1975.
As per a report by Variety, Hall is survived by his wife, Lindy Heymann, his son with Heymann, and two older sons with his ex-wife Jeanette Hall.