The British ska scene has lost one of its most important musicians: Terry Hall is dead. This was announced by his band The Specials on Tuesday night on their social media channels. Accordingly, Hall died after a short illness, he was 63 years old. As a Specials frontman, he was an international star in the early 80s.
Hall's hypnotic singing gave the specials the special sound, somnambulistic and finer than that of Madness, which was more party-oriented and commercially successful. Hall was the voice and eye-catcher of the group: always dressed to the nines - like many fans of his 2-tone ska direction, in a popper look with a black suit and sunglasses or with accessories in a checkerboard pattern.
Biting social criticism
1981's "Ghost Town" was arguably Hall's best-known hit, topping the UK charts for three weeks. The video clip, which was fairly new the year MTV was born, shows the band huddled in an old black Vauxhall sedan, cruising miserably through London's desolate inner city. Maybe the bad mood wasn't played at all. The group, finally really successful, had just broken up during an argument. Ironically with her greatest masterpiece.
Founded in Coventry in 1977, the Specials were politically more important than it might first appear. Even if ska was the sound of the Caribbean immigrants: the composition of the specials from black and white band members was considered revolutionary. And her social criticism was biting. "Ghost Town" lamented the depressive mood that hung over England around 1980. "Too Much Too Young" openly addressed teenage pregnancy in the underclass. The group also took up racial discrimination in Great Britain and the decay of social structures.
His melancholy was not played
After leaving the Specials, Hall formed the group Fun Boy Three, which spawned the minor club hit The Lunatics (Have Taken Over The Asylum). He later reunited some Specials members in 2019 under the old name. Hall worked with Tricky and the Gorillaz. The band recognized him as "one of the most brilliant singers, songwriters and lyricists this country has ever produced".
The melancholy that always surrounded Hall was not played. The singer, who leaves behind his wife and a son, as well as two other children from his first marriage, also processed extremely stressful childhood experiences in his songs. According to his own statements, he was kidnapped by a teacher at the age of 12 and sexually abused for several days.
Reported on the BBC's Specials Twitter account