Much-loved Coventry music legend Terry Hall from The Specials, dies aged 63 - The Coventry Observer

Much-loved Coventry music legend Terry Hall from The Specials, dies aged 63

Coventry Editorial 19th Dec, 2022 Updated: 20th Dec, 2022   0

COVENTRY music legend Terry Hall – the frontman of The Specials – has died.

The 63-year-old lost his brave battle with cancer yesterday (Sunday, December 18).

He had been ill for some months but this news will come as a huge shock to the ska community.

In a statement on social media, The Specials said: “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing, following a brief illness, of Terry, our beautiful friend, brother and one of the most brilliant singers, songwriters and lyricists this country has ever produced.”

Terry was described as a ‘wonderful husband and father and one of the kindest, funniest, and most genuine of souls’.

The Specials added: “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.

“Terry often left the stage at the end of The Specials’ life-affirming shows with three words… “Love Love Love.”

The statement concludes by asking that everyone respect the family’s privacy at this very sad time.

Terry was born on March 19, 1959, and grew up in the Hillfields area of Coventry.

He attended Sidney Stringer School and worked in various jobs, including a stint at David Fletcher coin merchants in Station Square.

Terry Hall presents Home Sessions

He was a massive Manchester United fan and It was after seeing the Sex Pistols at the Lanchester Poly in the November of 1976 when Terry decided he wanted music in his life and he would eventually bag the lead vocal job in Cov punk band Squad. His time there would be short as he was soon cherry-picked by Jerry Dammers to join his new project that would change the world as the ska band The Specials.

Terry’s long-time band mate Horace Panter said: “The World has lost a unique voice, and I have lost a good friend.”

Coventry Music Museum curator Pete Chambers BEM knew Terry well.

He said: “Terry’s dry persona and often quick sardonic wit earned him the title of ‘Mr Misery’, but despite being bipolar Terry had a tremendous sense of humour and never refused a fan a selfie or autograph.

“Terry also perfected his frontman image and unique vocal delivery throughout his illustrious career, despite his often lack of animation on the stage he knew how to hold an audience and his one liners and glib observations gave the Specials (who were Skanking madly behind him) a unique juxtaposed look on stage.”

Pete added – from The Specials to his solo work, from The Fun Boy Three and The Colourfield and his collaboration with Dave Stewart in Vegas and his journey into World Music with Terry Hall and Mushtaq – his body of work showed him to be a superb musician who was ahead of his game.

“His lyrics could match anyone’s, although he was often underrated as a songwriter.”

Pete says music fans should, if they have not already, check out ‘Our Lips Are Sealed’ and ‘The Life and Times (of a Man Called Depression)’ from the chart topping ‘Encore’ Specials album and the harrowing ‘Well Fancy That!’ from The ‘Waiting’ album by The Fun Boy Three, and of course The finger on the pulse song for all Coventrians of a certain age ‘Friday Night, Saturday Morning’ by The Specials.

“On the Coventry Wall of Hits he remains one of only three artists to achieve 10 top ten singles; this includes the two number ones from the Specials (Too Much Too Young and Ghost Town).

“Terry was something special (pun intended), he was unique in the music world, he did things his way, never flash but always stunning, never wordy but always eloquent to say he  and that voice of his will be missed is an understatement.

“I know next time I play ‘Enjoy Yourself’ by The Specials and I hear Terry say: ‘I’m Terry and I’m going to enjoy myself first’ I will always crack a smile at a man that helped give me a career and a life in music, Thanks Tez.”

  • Terry Hall was much-loved in Coventry and beyond. Send us your memories of Terry and The Specials to [email protected]


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