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RANKING ROGER,
1963-2019

Roger Charlery, the singer who played a key role in reviving ska music in the late 1970s and early ‘80s as Ranking Roger in the English Beat, died Tuesday of cancer. He was 56.

A co-founder of General Public as well, Charlery’s death was confirmed in a post on the English Beat’s social media " He fought & fought & fought, Roger was a fighter. … Roger’s family would like to thank everyone for their constant support during this tough time. More to follow in the coming days."

Charlery suffered a stroke late last year and doctors found two tumors in his brain and cancer in his lungs.

Charlery started the Beat in Birmingham, England, in 1978. Like The Specials, Madness and Selector,  the band took uptempo Jamaican ska music and married it with pop, R&B, new wave and punk rock;  the music was widely known as two-tone.

More than their peers, the English beat achieved commercial success in the U.S. and U.K. I Just Can’t Stop It, released in 1980, and Wha’ppen? hit #3 in the U.K. while Special Beat Service went Top 40 in both countries. “Mirror in the Bathroom” and “Hands Off…She’s Mine” went Top 10 in the U.K. and helped establish the band on the U.S. new wave scene; their covers of “Tears of a Clown” and “Can’t Get Used to Losing You” received considerable airplay.

After the band broke up, Charlery and his co-leader in the English Beat, Dave Wakeling, formed General Public with former members of Dexy’s Midnight Runners and The Specials. Their first release, All the Rage in 1984, was their biggest success, reaching Top 30 in the U.S. The band broke up in 1985.

Ranking Roger participated in reunion tours of General Public and English Beat, in 1995 and 2005, respectively, and released several solo albums.

He recently finished his autobiography, I Just Can't Stop It: My Life in the Beat, which is slated for release this year.

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