March 19, 1959 – December 18, 2022.
Terry Hall from Coventry, U.K. started his musical adventures in a punk band before getting drawn in to the Coventry Automatics, The Special AKA and then known as The Specials. 2 Tone – the label founded by Jerry Dammers and the Ska Revival in the late 70’s with The Selecter, The Beat, Madness, The Bodysnatchers, Bad Manners is well documented and researched. The orginal Specials broke up in 1981 after years of permanent touring and many great Songs and Singles.
Terry, co-Singer Neville Staples and Lynval Golding had prepared their first Fun Boy Three Single ‘The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum’ already and jumpstarted a new career while the remaining Specials fragmented and faded out with a final LP ‘In The Studio’ appearing after endless Studio Sessions in 1984.
The Fun Boy Three released a bunch of incredible singles plus two great Albums, 1982 and 1983 before Terry called them quits. The surprised Neville and Lynval – on vacation then tried a new project Sunday Best with Pauline Black, from the equally dissolved Selecter which fell on dumb ears and faded after one single.
Terry had started The Colour Field (or Colourfield) heading more into melancholic British Pop with Toby Lyons and Karl Shale. Today best known for the pretty blatant but successful ‘Thinking Of You’ single still most songs showed Terry’s with and sharp observational skills. Surfaced now has this Radio Show, hosted by him in early 1985:
After various line-up changes The Colour Field faded out in obscurity after an weak second Album in 1987, recorded by Hall & Lyons with the aid of guest musicians and an over the top sterile production. This left Terry Hall to pursue a new project featuring Blair Booth and Anouchka Grose, ‘Ultra Modern Nursery Rhymes’ before teaming up with Dave Stewart of Eurythmics as Vegas for one Album.
1994 finally saw his first solo LP ‘Home’, produced by Ian Broudie with whom he kept regularly working during the 90’s, appearing as co-writer and Singer on many of Lighting Seeds releases. 1997 he released ‘Laugh’, arranged and partly co-written with Craig Gannon and 2003 a collaborative Album with Mushtaq from Fun-Da-Mental ‘The Hour Of Two Lights’ which showed less Terry Hall as we knew him than any other release before besides on “A Tale Of Woe”.
Drawn back to Ska/Dance/House Music he appeared as guest of Junkie XL, Lautrec, Tricky and on many occasions live and on record with The Dub Pistols with the brilliant ‘Problem Is’ for example.
Finally he seemed at ease with his past success and roots and slowly the possibility of a Specials Reunion became real. In 2009 all the Specials (minus Jerry Dammers) got on the road again for a 30th Anniversary Tour and surprisingly stayed together for the following years, also touring ‘More Specials’.
With the core of Terry, Lynval and Horace (Neville Staples had to quit due Health issues and John Bradbury died in 2015, Roddy Radiation got lost again on the way) The Specials MK III released the Studio Album ‘Encore’ in 2019 which stayed true to the original spirit of The Specials, not shying away from any current issues. This was followed in 2021 with a cover album ‘Protest Songs 1924-2012’, an all new album was in preparation but this was not meant to be.
Terry Hall leaves three sons, two with his former wife and one with his later one. He fought depressions and traumas and was one of the first Patrons and supporters of Tonic, aiming to help people in the music industry fighting against mental illness.
The world lost a brilliant wordsmith and a unique voice of his generation.