This week the music world has lost a truly talented artist and the world has lost a gifted human being.
Ranking Roger (born Roger Charlery) passed away on Wednesday at the far too young age of 56. Roger had suffered a stroke last year and then was diagnosed with multiple forms of cancer. He quietly passed away at home, surrounded by friends and family.
I first met Roger during one of the early tours of the original English Beat lineup. I was immediately impressed with his boundless positive attitude. He broad the message of love and tolerance and community as part of a music movement that was built on all that. Roger was at the center of the 2Tone ska movement that was much more than just cool music.
Later I reconnected with Roger when he and Dave Wakeling left the English Beat to form General Public.
I spent time with Roger again when he was the guest toaster on a U.S. tour of Big Audio Dynamite. Mick Jones (of the Clash and Bid Audio Dynamite) expessed to me that he felt blessed to have such a great performer and such a positive influence on everyone on the tour.
More recently, there existed 2 forms of the original band. The English Beat (fronted by Dave Wakeling) perform most their gigs in the U.S. while "The Beat with Ranking Roger" performed most of their gig in England.
Roger leaves behind 5 children including son Ranking Junior (Matthew Murphy) and daughter Saffren who both featured with their father in a Beat.
I will be repeated my music tribute to Ranking Roger on this weekend's Sunday Night Music Meeting.
Ranking Roger will be missed...by millions.