Terry Hall The Specials
Terry Hall, 2022 | Credit: Per Ole Hagen/Redferns

Terry Hall, Lead Singer of The Specials, Dies Aged 63

Terry Hall, lead singer of second-wave ska band The Specials, has died aged 63. The news comes through a tweet from the band’s account. “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing, following a brief illness, of Terry, our beautiful friend, brother and one of the most brilliant singers, songwriters and lyricists this country has ever produced,” the announcement says.

“Terry often left the stage at the end of The Specials’ life-affirming shows with three words… ‘Love Love Love’.”

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According to an obituary in The Guardian, Hall came from significant disadvantage in his youth. His parents both worked in a car factory and, despite Hall’s academic talent, could not afford to send him to the grammar school that he qualified for.

“All of a sudden they were expected to buy books and a school uniform,” Hall said to Fantastic Man in 2019. “I’d just been walking to school dressed in my football kit. So there’s always been a bit of that kicking around in the back of my mind. Not being educated. Wondering what would have happened if I’d gone.”

Hall overcame sexual abuse and mental illness before joining The Specials (then The Coventry Automatics) in 1977. Their anti-racist messaging and adoption of Jamaican ska influences cemented them as one of the seminal bands at the forefront of the second-wave of ska in the UK.

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