Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Terry Hall, 1959-2022

News broke yesterday of the death of Terry Hall, singer for one of my favorite bands, 2 tone legends the Specials.  This is truly a loss, and at only 63, clearly much too early.  I like this sentence posted on the band's Facebook page: "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."  If folks can say something that's anywhere close to that when I leave this world, it will probably have been a life pretty well spent.

From his Facebook page...

I've been listening to some of his work today and wanted to share a few songs here.  While much of the greatness of this first one is defined by its group vocals, I have to post the most iconic version of one of the most iconic ska or rocksteady songs of all time, the Specials' take on "A Message to You Rudy":

The Rude Boy archetype and the "character" of Rudy are a topic I've long thought I should write about in a Geeky SKAturday, and this tune probably leads the way in representing Rudy's image in a lot of people's minds.

There are a couple of songs, though, that I think exemplify Hall's strengths as a vocalist and will be forever imprinted on the musical portion of my mind.  "Dawning of a New Era" might have been the first Specials song I ever heard, and I really never get tired of it...

And then Hall's performance in the grand alloy that is the Specials' epic "Ghost Town" is absolutely timeless:

Of course, Hall had projects other than the Specials, with Fun Boy Three being perhaps the most well known.  Even many who have never paid much attention to his musical performances would probably recognize this pop gem that he co-wrote with Jane Wiedlin of the Go-Go's:

Finally, I know I'm not the only one recognizing today how poignant Hall's performance in this classic cover is...especially considering the young age at which the world lost him...

I definitely hold some regret that I never seized an opportunity to see Hall perform live.  And I would love to honor him in a very Monstrous Matters way, by statting him up for a game, but I'm not sure I have the tools and chops (yet?) to do that well.  If I were to go the 5E route, I think I'd put him close to the max (if not THE max) level used in the campaign world at hand.  Of course, he'd be a Bard.  And he'd be the first one I construct that belongs to the College of Ska.  But I haven't put all that together yet.  One day, maybe, and hopefully soon, and until then, I'll enjoy the incredible art he left for us.

Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think.

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