Ranking Roger, lead vocalist for British ska punk band the Beat – known as the English Beat in North America – and founding member of General Public, died on Tuesday. He was 56. The news was confirmed in a statement on the Beat’s official Facebook page. The cause of death has not been disclosed. In January, he revealed that he had been diagnosed with brain tumors and lung cancer.
“He fought & fought & fought, Roger was a fighter,” the statement reads. “Sadly Roger past away a few hours ago peacefully at his home surrounded by family. Roger’s family would like to thank everyone for their constant support during this time. More to follow in the coming days. RIP Roger!”
Born Roger Charlery in 1963 in Birmingham, England, Ranking Roger joined ska punk band the Beat as a teenager following a stint as a drummer in another band and became one of the Beat’s lead vocalists and main toasters. He appeared on all three of the group’s studio albums (1980’s I Just Can’t Stop It, 1981’s Wha’ppen? and 1982’s Special Beat Service).
Following the band’s breakup in 1983, he teamed with fellow lead vocalist/bandmate Dave Wakeling to form General Public, and they released two albums, 1984’s All the Rage and 1986’s Hand to Mouth before the band’s dissolution, although Wakeling and Roger reunited in the Nineties to release Rub it Better and also recorded a cover of the Staple Singers’ “I’ll Take You There” for the Threesome soundtrack under the General Public moniker.
Roger released a number of solo projects as well as launched various incarnations of the Beat (most recently billed as the Beat featuring Ranking Roger; Dave Wakeling formed his version as English Beat starring Dave Wakeling).
In 2016, Roger released Bounce, the first new album by the Beat in 30 years. In January, the Beat released Bounce follow-up, Public Confidential. Roger recently completed writing his autobiography, I Just Can’t Stop It, which is slated for publication later this year via Omnibus Press.