Terry Hall, the lead singer of The Specials, passed away on December 18th. Hall was 63 years old.
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Hall was a fixture in the New Wave music scene in the early 1980s. In addition to his work with The Specials, Hall co-wrote the hit song “Our Lips Are Sealed,” made popular by The Go-Go’s following its release in 1981.
Hall also recorded a version of the song with Fun Boy Three, a project formed by Hall and some of his fellow bandmates in The Specials following the band’s split the same year.
The announcement of Hall’s death on Monday, December 19th, inspired many tributes from Hall’s fellow musicians and his fans. Several fixtures of the New Wave era took to social media to offer their condolences and share stories pertaining to Hall’s legacy.
Hall Passed Away Following ‘A Brief Illness’
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The surviving members of The Specials, whose best-known songs include the New Wave and ska staples “A Message To You Rudy” and “Ghost Town,” announced Hall’s passing on Twitter.
“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. Terry was a wonderful husband and father and one of the kindest, funniest, and most genuine of souls. His music and his performances encapsulated the very essence of life… the joy, the pain, the fight for justice, but mostly the love. He will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him and leaves behind the gift of his remarkable music and profound humanity. Terry often left the stage at the end of The Specials’ life-affirming shows with three words ‘Love, Love, Love.'”
The band concluded their statement by asking fans to “respect the family’s privacy at this very sad time.”
Musicians And Popular Culture Staples Pay Tribute To Hall
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. (1/4) pic.twitter.com/qJHsI1oTwp
— The Specials (@thespecials) December 19, 2022
Hall’s legacy was felt by his New Wave-era colleagues and ’80s-era pop culture figures alike.
Original MTV VJ, Martha Quinn, tweeted her condolences on The Specials’ Twitter thread.
“I’m so sorry to hear this,” Quinn’s tribute began, “Between @thespecials (Day one MTV artists) & #FunBoyThree & being co-writer of Our Lips Are Sealed with @janewiedlin, Terry Hall’s creativity shaped the sound of the 80’s. My condolences to his loved ones who number many,” Quinn’s tweet concluded.
Andy Bell, lead singer of Europop band Erasure, tweeted a poignant story about Hall’s influence on his young life.
“At 11 I suddenly wanted a Harrington with a red tartan lining, a Fred Perry shirt, black sta prest. white socks and black loafers with tassels, all because of this mans [sic] music had swept through my school like Elvis in ’56. Those 2 @thespecials albums are pure genius. RIP Terry Hall,” Bell tweeted.
Musician Elvis Costello, who produced The Specials’ first album, also tweeted a tribute to Hall.
“Sad to receive the news of Terry Hall’s passing last night from Lynval Golding. Terry’s voice was the perfect instrument for the true and necessary songs on ‘The Specials.’ That honesty is heard in so many of his songs in joy and sorrow. My condolences to his family and friends.”
The official Twitter accounts for 1980’s bands Dexy’s Midnight Runners and UB40 also tweeted tributes.
The former band tweeted, “Very sorry and shocked, to hear the sad news of the lovely, and brilliant Terry Hall. Rest in peace Terry. All the best to Terry’s family and The Specials. Love from Dexys.”
UB40 tweeted, “We are very sad to hear of the passing of Terry Hall the lead singer of @thespecials Another one gone too soon!”
“She Blinded Me With Science” singer Thomas Dolby tweeted, “So upsetting to hear Terry Hall is gone. I will be playing The Specials’ brilliant ‘Ghost Town’ on loop tonight… but oh dear, Twitter won’t allow me to link to it,” Dolby wrote. Dolby is referring to Twitter’s recent ban- and then quick reversal- of linking to other social media sites.
The Go-Go’s Jane Wiedlin (and Hall’s former girlfriend) tweeted, “Gutted to hear of the passing of #terryhall. He was a lovely, sensitive, talented and unique person. Our extremely brief romance resulted in the song ‘Our Lips Are Sealed’, which will forever tie us together in music history. Terrible news to hear this.” Wiedlin’s tweet also included a black-and-white photo of Hall.