[R.I.P. Ranking Roger] -- This week 80s fans mourned the loss of Ranking Roger (born Roger Charlery), vocalist for The Beat (aka The English Beat) and General Public. You can read more about his background and rise to 80s stardom at the previous link, at the Guardian, the New York Times, and various other sites. Roger had suffered a stroke last year. And just this past January, fans were informed that he had been diagnosed with two brain tumors as well as lung cancer. At the time of his death, he was only 56 years old. He leaves behind a catalog of nine studio albums, two of which were solo records, as well as compilations, live records, and collaborations with other artists. He also leaves behind five children, two of whom -- son Ranking Junior (Matthew Murphy) and daughter Saffren -- had performed with him in a revival band. Ranking Roger was musically active from 1978 to 2019. So there's no way I can do complete justice to his career. Still, I've selected a few of my favorite 80s tracks so we can attempt a proper sendoff. What's featured today? Read and hear more after the jump.
Flashback #1: "Mirror in the bathroom | Please talk free | The door is locked | Just you and me."
Probably my all-time favorite song by The Beat (or The English Beat here in the State) is "Mirror in the Bathroom." It was the top single from the band's 1980 debut album, I Just Can't Stop It. It peaked at #4 in the UK Singles Chart. I don't think it ever charted in the US. But it was definitely a favorite among my ska-loving dorm-mates at Penn State. It's also just a teensy bit creepy if you think too much about the lyrics (and I obviously have).
Flashback #2: "Sooner or later | Your legs give way, you hit the ground | Save it for later | Don't run away and let me down."
"Save it for Later" was a single off The Beat's third and final studio album, Special Beat Service (1982). It peaked at #47 in the UK. It features an unusual guitar tuning which was apparently happened upon accidentally.
Flashback #3: "Tenderness, where is it."
General Public was the second collaboration between Ranking Roger and longtime music partner, Dave Wakeling. The first single off General Public's debut album, All the Rage (1984), was "Tenderness." It peaked at #95 in the UK and #27 on the US Billboard Hot 100. And I must say, the core question of this song, "where is the tenderness," is just as relevant today as it ever was.
Once again, I remind you that the rule of three applies when doing Flashbacks. As I've made my three offerings, that's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.
I'll see you in seven!