Written by: Alex Green
Ranking Roger, who co-founded both The English Beat and General Public has died.
The Birmingham-born singer who was 56, had been battling a series of illnesses. He was said to have suffered a stroke last year and he was diagnosed with both lung cancer and two brain tumors.
Born Roger Charley to West Indian parents in 1963, Charley’s entry point into music was through punk rock. As a teenager in 1976, he played drums for the punk band the Nam Nam Boys.
Dubbing himself “Ranking” Roger–the moniker an MC’s brag about being top ranked–Charley joined the English Beat and his onstage toasting became a major component of the band’s signature sound.
He and English Beat singer Dave Wakeling left the band after three successful albums and founded General Public along with members of Dexys Midnight Runners and The Specials.
Over the course of his career Charley collaborated with everyone from Sting to Smashmouth to Pato Banton to The Clash. He put out a series of critically-acclaimed solo albums and was a member of Big Audio Dynamite at the tail end of their career.
He fronted an iteration of The English Beat that was dubbed The Beat along with his son, Ranking Junior.
Charley was believed to be working on his autobiography at the time of his death.
On social media, The English Beat posted that Charley had, “…sadly passed away peacefully at home with his family by his side earlier today. Roger’s family would like to thank everyone for their constant support during this tough time. Roger was a fighter.”