We can’t get used to losing him… Two-tone is widely seen as the first multiracial cultural movement in UK history, and it’s fair to say The Beat were its finest exponents. Born Roger Charlery in Birmingham, the son of Windrush migrants, Ranking Roger was just 15 when he left a small punk band called The Dum Dum Boys to become drummer, and then co-vocalist, of The Beat. The group were instant chart successes, four of their first five singles making the top 10 and they even earned the honour of getting a song banned by the BBC in their anti-Thatcher anthem “Stand Down, Margaret”.
After the band’s split in 1983 Roger and fellow Beat member Dave Wakeling formed General Public, who had more success in the US than the UK and whose track “Tenderness” remains a radio-play staple today. In recent years, both Wakeling and Roger have helmed their own versions of The Beat – Wakeling in the US and Roger in the UK, with his son Ranking Junior taking over toasting responsibilities. And if you’re asking “wha’happen”, “wha’happened” was Roger had brain cancer and has now died. It really, really should have been Suggs.