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Terry Hall, Singer With British Ska Legends - The Specials Dies at 63

Terry Hall, Singer With British Ska Legends – The Specials Dies at 63

The Specials Terry Hall, 2019 - Manchester Academy (Image: Shutterstock/Hitesh Kapur)
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LONDON (CelebrityAccess) – The Specials‘ frontman, Terry Hall, who helped pioneer the ska movement in post-punk Britain, has passed away at the age of 63 after a short illness. The band announced his death 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,” the Specials tweeted Monday. “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. He will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him and leaves behind the gift of his remarkable music and profound humanity. Terry often left the stage at the end of the Specials’ life-affirming shows with three words… ‘Love Love Love.’”

Hall was born in Coventry, England, in March 1959. At the tender age of 12, he was abducted by a human trafficking/pedophile ring in France and subjected to sexual abuse, which led to depression and addiction throughout his life. He had a suicide attempt in 2004. He quit school at the age of 15 and lost himself in the Coventry music scene, joining the Specials at just 18 years of age. Two years later, the band had their first hit with “Gangsters.”

The Specials charted seven top-10 singles during their first run. By 1982, Hall had left the band to form the more pop-leaning Fun Boy Three. Fun Boy Three was successful with six Top 20 singles in the UK, with “It Ain’t What You Do (It’s the Way You Do It),” helping launch the career of the girl-trio Bananarama.

Hall co-wrote the Go-Go’s’ first hit, “Our Lips Are Sealed,” with Jane Wiedlin, with whom he’d had a brief affair while on tour with the girl band in 1980. Fun Boy Three split in 1983 after the release of their second album, the David Byrne-produced Waiting.

Over the course of his career, Hall also worked with Sinéad O’Connor, Dub Pistols, D12, Tricky, Junkie XL, Lily Allen, Shakespears Sister, and Toots and the Maytals.

Hall eventually reunited with his former Specials bandmates in 2008, and the group toured nonstop. In February 2019, they released a new studio album, Encore, comprising the Specials’ first new material (with Hall) since 1981. The album was critically acclaimed and debuted at No. 1 on the UK Albums Chart, making it the highest-charting album of the Specials’ career.

A compilation of covers, Protest Songs 1924–2012, followed and hit No. 2 in the UK; this turned out to be the final Specials album featuring Hall’s vocals.

Tributes have poured in since the news of his death. Some are listed below.

Neville Staple – “I was deeply saddened to hear about Terry Hall’s passing on Sunday. We knew Terry had been unwell but didn’t realize how serious until recently. We had only just confirmed some 2023 joint music agreements together. This has hit me.”

Dub Pistols

Rowetta – “One of the greatest frontmen from one of the greatest bands. And a gorgeous, kind, down-to-earth man. I’ll miss his music, his United post-match honesty, his messages. Terry Hall Forever.”

The Libertines

Hall is survived by his wife, director Lindy Heymann, and three sons.

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