The ska revival of the early 80s brought some great and timeless music, but The Beat’s debut album and associated singles were among the finest slabs of vinyl to emerge from the scene. Part of The Beat’s enduring charm came from great chorus hooks, but for many, the real energy and brilliance came from Ranking Roger.
Roger had a massive presence; his energy throughout the band’s debut single ‘Ranking Full Stop’, as well as deep album cuts like ‘Click Click’ absolutely radiates. That sheer sparkle wasn’t just limited to the ska tunes either. As his work with The Beat – and latterly General Public – gravitated towards pop, Roger adapted accordingly, but his vocal skills were still pretty much second to none.
Even in his later years, he maintained an amazing stage presence and his gifts for great melodies, as heard on the Beat’s album ‘Bounce’ were an easy match for any point throughout his long career. When The Beat visited Margate in the winter of 2018, Roger absolutely had the audience in the palm of his hand. It’s a gig that will never be forgotten.
Ranking Roger’s passing today – 26th March 2019 – has left a massive hole in the music world, but in terms of a legacy, his work will see him remembered as one of the true greats.