Terry Hall remembered by Elvis Costello, Jerry Dammers, Jane Wiedlin, Madness, Billy Bragg & more
Terry Hall of The Specials and Fun Boy Three died on Sunday, December 18 but the news didn't break till late Monday afternoon. Tributes from friends, fellow musicians and famous fans have been pouring in via social media.
The Specials & 2 Tone Records founder Jerry Dammers, who didn't take part in band's reunion, wrote, "Terry’s death is very shocking, horrible and tragic news," continuing, "Terry was so young and I feel very sad. Contrary to some of what has been reported since, Terry and I got on well in the original Specials. Beyond our punky start on stage, it was in the studio with Elvis Costello producing, where Terry was able to sing quietly, that I think his hidden strength came out, a delivery which brought out the melancholy in some of The Specials’ songs, and which I think a lot of people could relate to. All my condolences and sympathies go out to his wife and family.”
Jane Wiedlin of The Go-Go's, who co-wrote "Our Lips Are Sealed" with Hall, wrote, "Gutted to hear of the passing of #terryhall. He was a lovely, sensitive, talented and unique person. Our extremely brief romance resulted in the song Our Lips Are Sealed, which will forever tie us together in music history. Terrible news to hear this."
Elvis Costello, who produced The Specials' classic debut album, wrote, "Sad to receive the news of Terry Hall’s passing last night from Lynval Golding. Terry’s voice was the perfect instrument for the true and necessary songs on 'The Specials.' That honesty is heard in so many of his songs in joy and sorrow. My condolences to his family and friends."
Fellow 2 Tone band Madness wrote, "A terrible loss to all of us, way too young," while The English Beat's Dave Wakeling wrote, "Sad to hear that Terry will not be joining us for another season. Cryptic, droll, a heart of gold, and he could tackle like a donkey! Always a proper gent to The Beat, our condolences to family and friends."
Rhoda Dakar, of 2 Tone group The Bodysnatchers who also dueted with Terry on The Specials "I Can't Stand It" and sang with offshoot The Special AKA, wrote:
Terry’s gone, he died just after the football on Sunday. Back in 2009 I wrote sleevenotes for the rerelease of his solo album ‘Laugh’. They were approved.
“Recently, someone asked what Terry Hall was like. I said he was very funny and they looked at me like I hadn’t heard the question. Not funny peculiar, funny ha ha. I could see them then trying to form the words that would make me understand what they had just asked me. No, really. Enigmatic, certainly. Intelligent, observant and with a deadpan delivery second to none. But a wicked sense of humour. Wicked meaning evil, bruv. An indispensable tool in the arsenal of any would be singer-songwriter. Often squandered, but here it has found a very safe pair of hands. I laughed out loud when he spat the line, “but you’re still fucking peasants as far as I can see”, from ‘Working Class Hero’. Yes, I know Lennon wrote it, but it’s a brilliant live version and one of the real treats the bonus tracks add to this CD. The invective, the flash of the eyes and yes, I have been on the wrong end of that once or twice. At which point, the only honourable thing to do is shut up and move away.”
Massive Attack wrote, "The protest soundtrack to our youth & the blueprint of our band. Rest in power Terry Hall."
Among the others who have shared kind words and remembrances: Belinda Carlisle, Boy George, Rage Against the Machine, Dexy's Midnight Runners, Billy Bragg, Squeeze's Chris Difford, The Sleaford Mods, Ted Leo, Rancid, The Interrupters, Lush's Miki Berenyi, Saint Etienne's Bob Stanley, Everything But the Girl's Tracey Thorn, Less Than Jake, The Brian Jonestown Massacre's Anton Newcombe, Matt Sharp (Weezer, The Rentals), Geoff Barrow (Portishead, Beak>), The Charlatans' Tim Burgess, former Cure member Lol Tolhurst, The Mountain Goats, Michael McKean, Jon Cryer, Sparks, Mark McGrath, Frank Turner, Catbite, Shepard Fairey, director Tim Pope, and more. Read those below.