Terry Hall of the Specials (1959 – 2022)

Terry Hall has died at the tender age of 63. He had suffered most of his life with depression, perhaps induced when he was kidnapped and raped as a boy of 14.

His concern for others was always at the front and centre of the Specials and his melancholy informed his songs and my late teenage years.

He made me aware for the first time of racial prejudice. The Specials were the band I saw most in my pre-college years. When I taught screwed up kids in 1979, I found the Specials were pretty special to them too. Everyone seemed drawn to Terry.

Terry Hall, had a way of dealing with his depression in a positive way, by singing songs that talked of doing things better.

When he sung “ghost town”, a song of unremitting gloom, the Specials were that better way. This is a great tribute.

I was pleased to wake up this morning to “Doesn’t make it alright” on radio 5. It was a song that Hall sang with such conviction that the tune and the  sentiment has stayed with me all my adult life.

Update – from Yahoo news

The Specials‘ frontman Terry Hall had been diagnosed with cancer shortly before his death this week, his bandmate has confirmed.

In an emotional Facebook post, bassist Horace Panter revealed the group had planned to start recording a new album last month before Hall was taken ill with a suspected stomach bug.

Further medical examinations revealed that Hall was suffering from pancreatic cancer, which spread to his liver.

Panter explained that Hall developed diabetes as a result of his pancreas being attacked, with his illness worsening earlier this month.

“Beginning of December and reports are not good. Terry has lost a lot of weight and is very frail. His friend Ian Broudie visits and phones manager Steve. He fears that Terry is slipping away,” wrote Panter.

“15th December and Manager Steve drives up to London to visit. He calls me on his return journey and says things are not looking promising. Terry is dying. The next day he is put on morphine and is more-or-less unconscious for most of the time.”

Opening up on Hall’s final days, he added: “I thought it would be best for me to go and visit but Lindy, his wife, advises against it. She has held her phone to Terry’s ear so that his sisters and Lynval can say their goodbyes.

“She suggests I do the same. So, I did. It was tough. Terry died around half past 5 the next evening, Sunday 18th December. The world has lost a unique voice and I have lost a good friend.”

Tributes have flooded in for the late frontman in the wake of his death.

Blur’s Damon Albarn, who has frequently hailed Hall as an inspiration, shared an emotional piano cover of The Specials’ Friday Night, Sunday Morning to social media, accompanied by the caption: “Terry, you meant the world to me. I love you.”

Pogues frontman Shane Mac MacGowan wrote that he was “really fucking sad to hear about Terry Hall”, adding: “He was a great guy and I am praying for his family and friends @thespecials.”

Madness, ska contemporaries of The Specials in the 1980s’, shared a black and white picture of Hall on Twitter, writing: “A terrible loss to all of us, way too young, RIP Terry Hall.”

Speaking on LBC yesterday, Barry Ashworth, frontman of Dub Pistols, added that Hall’s last words had been “Love, love, love” – the same phrase he often used to close shows.

“Never forget it,” Ashworth told host Andrew Marr, adding: “I’ve lost one of my heroes, but I’ve lost one of my dearest, dearest, dearest friends.”


About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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1 Response to Terry Hall of the Specials (1959 – 2022)

  1. Con Keating says:

    I live just along the road from the two tone village and have lunch there regularly – the cafe and museum are often visited by artists from that era, Terry among them – he was deeply caring for others, though occasionally conversations were rather dark. He will be sadly missed.

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