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Terry Hall, The Specials and Fun Boy Three lead singer, dead at 63

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C Brandon/Redferns

Terry Hall, lead singer of the influential British band The Specials, has died, the band announced on social media. He was 63.

The band writes that Hall, “our beautiful friend, brother and one of the most brilliant singers, songwriters and lyricists this country has ever produced,” has passed away “following a brief illness.” 

The statement described Terry as “one of the kindest, funniest, and most genuine of souls, adding, “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,” the statement concludes. 

The Specials were part of the U.K.’s 2 tone movement, which blended Jamaican ska — an early form of reggae — with punk and new wave.  They’re best known for songs like “Gangsters,” “A Message to You, Rudy,” “Free Nelson Mandela” and, most famously, “Ghost Town,” which captured the mood of the civil unrest and riots experienced in Margaret Thatcher‘s Britain in the summer of 1981.

Hall was also a member of Fun Boy Three, which he formed with two other Specials members after they’d left the group.  During that time, Hall and Jane Wiedlin of the Go-Go‘s had a brief affair and co-wrote the song “Our Lips Are Sealed,” which was first recorded by the Go-Go’s in 1981, and then by Fun Boy Three in 1983.  They also had two hits with Bananarama: “Really Sayin’ Something” and “It Ain’t What You Do (It’s the Way That You Do It).”

After Fun Boy Three, Hall was also in the bands The Colourfield and Vegas, the latter with Dave Stewart of Eurythmics.  He worked with Sinead O’Connor, Gorillaz and Damon Albarn, Tricky, Lily Allen and Shakespears Sister, among many other acts.  He reunited with The Specials in 2008; their most recent album was 2021’s Protest Songs 1924–2012.

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