Ranking Roger: The Beat Singer Dies Aged 56

Musicians have paid tribute to singer Roger Charlery, known as Ranking Roger, who has died at the age of 56.

The Birmingham-born star, best known as a vocalist with The Beat, died at home on Tuesday, surrounded by family, a statement on the band’s website said.

Charlery had suffered a stroke last summer and was reported to have been diagnosed with two brain tumours and lung cancer in recent months.

Tweeting condolences, songwriter Billy Bragg wrote: “Rest easy, Rude Boy.”

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Neville Staple, formerly of The Specials and Fun Boy Three, sang with Charlery in the band Special Beat. He shared a tribute to his friend on Instagram.

Pauline Black, who fronted two-tone band The Selecter, posted a short excerpt from Hamlet, which read: “Goodnight sweet prince. And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”

Mike Mills, one of the founding members of REM, went on several tours with The Beat. He tweeted that Charlery had “brought a lot of joy into the world”.

Meanwhile, Matt Hoy, a touring vocalist with UB40, wrote on Instagram: “Rest in Peace Ranking Roger, such sad news!! Lovely guy… Way [too] young!! Condolences to his family.”

British reggae band The Skints posted a picture of vocalist Josh Waters Rudge with Charlery. They described him as “an original inspiration, a rebel to the very end and an absolute gentleman always”.

As part of The Beat, Charlery spearheaded the two-tone movement with a distinctive vocal style influenced by the Jamaican rap technique of toasting.

The group enjoyed several top 10 hits, most famously Mirror in the Bathroom – the first digitally recorded single released in the UK.

Their 1980 cover of Andy Williams’ Can’t Get Used To Losing You was used as the main sample on Beyonce’s 2016 hit Hold Up.

After the band broke up in 1983, Charlery went on to form supergroup General Public with members of Dexys Midnight Runners and The Specials.

He was also known for many live performances with Sting.


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