The Beat’s Ranking Roger has died

“He fought & fought & fought, Roger was a fighter," the band wrote in tribute to their vocalist

The Beat vocalist Ranking Roger has died, aged 56.

The musician, real name Roger Charlery, passed away earlier today (March 26). A post on The Beat’s Facebook page confirmed his passing, adding: “He fought & fought & fought, Roger was a fighter.

“Roger’s family would like to thank everyone for their constant support during this tough time,” the post concluded. See it below.

Roger was diagnosed with two brain tumours and lung cancer following a mini stroke he suffered in August 2018.

Roger, who was born in Birmingham in 1963, was best known for his work in The Beat (known in North America as ‘The English Beat’), who released three albums during their first period together: ‘I Just Can’t Stop It’ (1980), ‘Wha’ppen?’ (1981) and ‘Special Beat Service’ (1982). Among their best-known songs are the likes of ‘Stand Down Margaret’, ‘Mirror In The Bathroom’ and ‘Drowning’.

As well as The Beat, Roger was a prominent member of General Public, who he co-fronted with The Beat’s Dave Wakeling in the mid-80s. The group released two LPs, 1984’s ‘All The Rage’ and 1986’s ‘Hand To Mouth’.

He also released a string of solo albums, kicking off in 1988 with ‘Radical Departure’. Roger, who was also renowned for his numerous live performances with Sting during his career, released his final album ‘Public Confidential’ with the latest iteration of The Beat earlier this year.

A biography about Roger’s life in music, which he co-wrote, is also set to be published later this year.

Tributes to Roger have been pouring in since the news of his passing was confirmed, with The Specials and 2 Tone Records founder Jerry Dammers hailing the late artist’s stellar contribution to music in a written statement.

“A very sad day indeed. Roger was the youngest contributor to the British ska movement, his talent, boundless bouncing energy, humour, common sense politics, and very positive and friendly attitude, was an inspiration to anyone who ever met him or saw him perform, he was greatly loved and will be greatly missed,” Dammers wrote.
“I first met Roger when The Specials supported a punk band at Barbarellas Night Club in Birmingham. Roger was toasting lyrics from punk songs and against the National Front, Jamaican patois style, over heavy reggae rhythms supplied by the DJ. He was only sixteen. A crowd were invited to an after party at another nightclub but the bouncers would not let Roger in, I suspected racism on their part, so I didn’t go in, and chatted to Roger who told me he also toasted with a band, who soon morphed into The Beat.
“As soon as I saw them I asked them to please put out a record on our new 2 Tone label,” Dammers continued. “The Beat were a fabulous band and wrote and performed some of the very best songs in the British ska genre, with Roger’s lively toasting interjections providing the perfect foil to Dave Wakeling’s vocals. If one person had to be picked to epitomise everything that was good and positive about the British ska movement and its youthful spirit, I think it would have to be Roger.”