RIP Ranking Roger
There are some legendary figures connected with the British Two-Tone Ska revival of the 1980's and though they were only signed to the label for their Cover of the Smokey Robinson's 'Tears of a clown' The Beat were blessed to be fronted by two of them in the scenes premier songwriter Dave Wakeling and the toasting free flowing force of nature that was Ranking Roger.
Roger Charlery born in Birmingham in 1963 was originally a drummer before joining The Beat on stage in the late 1970's and has left an indelible mark on the British music scene with a career spanning The Beat, and then General Public with Wakeling before parting ways and Roger singing with Special Beat and his own version of The Beat and solo work including collaborations with Pato Banton, The Clash, Specials etc
56 is too young for anybody to die and whilst there were many who wanted Rogers version of 'The Beat' and Dave Wakeling's 'The English Beat' to be mutually exclusive affairs both seemed to mellow in later years with Roger saying after an appearance together in Birmingham in 2018
“There's room for two Beats. Or six Beats, if every member of the band wanted to have their own version.
The important thing is the music and its message, that's what needs to survive. It's nothing to do with me or Dave so let's get on with it and not stop each other.
More Beat, more better!"
For me The Beat /The English Beat are a very special band and I have found Dave Wakeling to be a singularly lovely and amazing human being but the three first albums are magic because that band is very much Dave and Roger. The energy, the balance, the authenticity of a voice steeped in it's origins and the percussive implosions of a punky drummer compliment the timeless nature of Wakelings playing, singing and songwriting.
May his family find some solace in the thousands Roger had inspired and brought happiness to for 40 years with his songwriting, performance and energy. A gift that will never truly come to a full stop.