Ranking Roger
Ranking Roger

Ranking Roger
Ranking Roger (born Roger Charlery, 21 February 1963 – 26 March 2019) was a British musician. He was a vocalist in the 1980s two-tone band The Beat (known

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Ranking RogerGodiva Festival (Coventry) 2015Background informationBirth nameRoger CharleryBorn(1963-02-21)21 February 1963
Birmingham, EnglandDied26 March 2019(2019-03-26) (aged 56)Genres2 tone, ska, new wave, punk rock, electronicaOccupation(s)MusicianYears active1978–2019LabelsIRS, ParasAssociated actsThe Beat, General Public, Big Audio Dynamite

Ranking Roger (born Roger Charlery, 21 February 1963 – 26 March 2019)[1][2][3][4] was a British musician. He was a vocalist in the 1980s two-tone band The Beat (known in North America as The English Beat) and later General Public. He led a reformed Beat line-up.

The "Ranking" moniker is short for "top-ranking" or "high-ranking", and is a boast typical of many MCs.[5]

Contents Early life

Roger Charlery was born in Birmingham, England, the son of Jean Baptiste Charlery. According to a 1985 article in Mother Jones, he is of West Indian descent.[6] His mother and father are from Saint Lucia.[7] Charlery had four sisters: Greta, Annie, Sandra, and Equilar, who was a backing singer for him. He also had a half brother and sister, Kevin and Sarah Charlery.[citation needed]


Roger became a punk rock fan as a teenager and was the drummer in the Nam Nam Boys before joining ska revival pioneers The Beat in the late 1970s. The Nam Nam Boys first gig was with The Beat and his burgeoning friendship with them meant he began to gatecrash their gigs, take the mic and start toasting.[8] He had appeared on stage toasting and singing with them many times before officially joining the band. His energetic style and Jamaican-influenced vocals, paired with Dave Wakeling were crucial in distinguishing the band from the other second-wave ska bands. The Beat released three albums: the critically acclaimed and seminal I Just Can't Stop It (1980), Wha'ppen? (1981) and Special Beat Service (1982).[2]

After The Beat's 1983 break-up, he and Wakeling formed General Public with Mickey Billingham and Andy "Stoker" Growcott of Dexys Midnight Runners and Horace Panter of The Specials. They released the album All the Rage, aided by the single "Tenderness". In 1986, they released Hand to Mouth which was less successful, and the band soon split up.

In 1995, Roger and Wakeling reformed General Public with a new supporting band, and released the album Rub It Better. Roger and Wakeling also worked on various projects and reunited for the 1994 Threesome soundtrack, recording a cover of "I'll Take You There".

Roger released Radical Departure, his first solo album, in 1988[9] which included band members Horace Panter and Fuzz Townshend.

On 2001's Inside My Head[10], Roger pursued a more dance/electronic sound, including the song "Muscle Ska" that was co-written with Neville Staple of The Specials.

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In the early 1990s, Roger joined members of The Specials to form the new band Special Beat which released two live albums.[11] In 1996 Roger sang back-up and toasting on the new version of "The Bed's Too Big Without You" on Sting's "Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot" CD-Maxi single. The rock band Smash Mouth featured Roger on their song "You Are My Number One" in 2003.

Roger collaborated with Pato Banton in 1987 on the song "Pato and Roger Come Again".[12] Included on Banton's album Never Give In, the song was a follow-up to an earlier collaboration by the two singers on "Pato and Roger a Go Talk",[13] which appeared on Special Beat Service. Roger joined Banton again in 1995 on "Bubbling Hot",[14] which reached #15 on the UK single charts.[15]

Ranking Roger, Daughter and Ranking Junior

Ranking Roger's son, Matthew Murphy – 'Ranking Junior', has followed in his father's footsteps. In 2005, he appeared on The Ordinary Boys' hit single "Boys Will Be Boys". In 2003, The Beat's original line-up, minus Cox and Steele, played a sold-out one-off gig at the Royal Festival Hall.

In 2005, The Beat re-formed, counting Roger and Everett Morton of the original line-up, with Ranking Junior also on vocals. The Beat performed at Glastonbury the same year with new material written by Ranking Junior. The band is said to have the blessing of Cox, Steele and Saxa.

Roger appeared on two tracks 'Future Dub' and 'Come Around' from the 2008/9 album Turning Point by Snakestyle.

Roger sang on "Roxanne" on stage with The Police on their 2007 world tour,[16] and has regularly recorded with Sting.

He was a guest performer on Big Audio Dynamite's seventh album Higher Power in 1994 when the band were known as simply 'Big Audio'. He later became a member of Big Audio Dynamite for their final studio album Entering a New Ride (1997).[17]

Roger contributed to Walls Come Tumbling Down: The Music and Politics of Rock Against Racism, 2 Tone and Red Wedge, written by Daniel Rachel and published in 2016.[18]


Roger continued to lead The Beat and tours throughout Europe as well as works on solo projects.

In recent years, Roger released a series of new albums. 2013 saw the release of Retrospective[19]- an album of solo work recorded over the 25 years since the break up of General Public, featuring various artists and producers including Sly & Robbie,[20] and songs such as "Bubbling Hot" (the 1994 hit collaboration with Pato Banton) and a cover of "The Bed’s Too Big Without You" (first recorded with Sting for the 1996 film The Truth About Cats & Dogs[21]).

Live in London[22] was released in 2013 - a live recording of The Beat playing at 229 The Venue, featuring some of their greatest hits as well as new tracks by Roger and his Ranking Junior.

2014’s Pop Off the Head Top[23] consisted of entirely new compositions, including additional vocals and song writing from Ranking Junior. They recorded tracks for this project with Hugh Harris from London, Dopegrinders from Brighton and Mr. Anonymous from Colorado. Other key tracks involved the Italian producer AleXannA whose version of “16 Tons” features vocals by Roger, Ranking Junior, and Roger’s daughter Saffren Murphy.[24]

“Rock the Casbah”,[25] released in 2015 in collaboration with the charity Strummerville (founded by the friends and family of Joe Strummer to support aspiring musicians and projects that create social mobility through music). This five-track EP featured a previously unheard version of "Rock The Casbah", which Joe Strummer and Mick Jones of The Clash, had asked Roger to sing on back in 1981, re-recorded by the Brighton producers Dopegrinders, using the original stems donated by Mick Jones. The EP featured new tracks by Roger, Ranking Junior & Hugh Harris as well as a re-working of "Muscle Ska", co-written by Roger & Neville Staple from The Specials.

In September 2016, DMF released Bounce;[26] the first new album by The Beat in 30 years. Written by Ranking Roger, Mick Lister and Ranking Junior, it was produced by Mick Lister (Bad Company, Amy Winehouse, The Feeling) and mixed by Tim Hamill and Mick Lister, with the exception of "Side to Side" and "My Dream", which were mixed by Dennis Bovell (The Slits, Madness).The album was recorded in Roger's 'eco-friendly hideaway' – a round recording studio in his back garden, which he calls The Pod.[7][27] The album received generally positive reviews[28] with reviewers typically praising the band's 'passionately political edge'[29] and pointing to how the album 'encompasses every aspect of one of the most musically diverse bands to come out of the multi-racial, multi-cultural explosion that made British pop music what it was in the 80’s'.[30]

The band continues to tour and currently also features Roger’s son Ranking Junior (real name Matthew Murphy), with drummers Oscar Harrison of Ocean Colour Scene and Fuzz Townshend of Pop Will Eat Itself. The line-up is completed by Chiko Hamilton on sax, bass guitarist Andy Pearson, guitarist Steve Harper and Bobby Bird.[27][31]

In 2017, The Beat joined The Selecter for a co-headline UK tour,[32] including a sell out show at the Roundhouse in London. Life-long friends, The Selecter and The Beat are two of the main bands to come out of 2 Tone. Originally only intended as a six-date tour, due to high demand and a run of sold out dates, the tour was extended to 44 shows across Europe and ending in Australia in 2018.

In early August of 2018, Ranking Roger was taken to hospital with a suspected mini stroke. Roger is recuperating at home but he cancelled all forthcoming live shows in the UK & USA. The band had just finished recording a brand new album and Roger has been writing his autobiography about the early days of The Beat. Official announcement on his website September 21, 2018 [33]

In January 2019, it was announced that Roger had undergone surgery for two brain tumours and was undergoing treatment for lung cancer.[citation needed]

Roger died at his home on the morning of 26 March 2019 at the age of 56.[34]

Discography This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (March 2019) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Radical Departure (1988 I.R.S. Records)

  1. "Falling Down" (3:32)
  2. "One Minute Closer (to Death)" (5:50)
  3. "Time to Mek a Dime" (4:20)
  4. "In Love with You" (3:58)
  5. "Smashing Down Another Door" (4:15)
  6. "So Excited" (4:14)
  7. "Mono Gone to Stereo" (3:38)
  8. "Your Problems" (3:00)
  9. "I Told You" (3:48)
  10. "Point of View" (3:16)
  11. "I'll Be There" (3:52)

Inside My Head (2001 Paras Recording Records)

  1. "Ambient 2" (5:06)
  2. "Inside My Head" (4:48)
  3. "Dangerous" (5:23)
  4. "Love Is Nothing" (5:16)
  5. "Roller Blades (You Can't Catch Me)" (4:55)
  6. "Muscle Ska" (3:38)
  7. "They Know" (6:41)
  8. "You'll Learn Someday" (4:42)
  9. "Sodom and Gomorrah" (5:02)
  10. "Future" (3:59)
  11. "More and More (U Ain't Seen Her)" (3:35)
  12. "Wingmakers Dub Pt. 3" (7:04)

Retrospective - Looking Back 2010-1988 (2013 Not Them Again Music)

  1. "Breeze and River" (feat. Mr. Anonymous) (3.40)
  2. "Chi Widdley Bup" (feat. Mr. Anonymous) (4.31)
  3. "The Bed's Too Big Without You" (feat. DubXanne) (5.03)
  4. "Wingmakers Dub Part 3" (7.03)
  5. "Muscle Ska" (3.39)
  6. "More & More" (3.36)
  7. "Dangerous" (5.24)
  8. "Twist & Crawl (Full Mix)" (feat. Death In Vegas)(4.55)
  9. "Bubbling Hot (Beatmasters Remix)" (feat. Pato Banton) (5.26)
  10. "Civilization" (feat. Sly & Robbie) (4.04)
  11. "Music Running Around My Brain" (feat. Sly & Robbie) (4.04)
  12. "Your Problems" (3.01)
  13. "Time to Mek a Dime" (4.21)
  14. "So Excited" (4.10)

Pop Off the Headtop (2014 Not Them Again Music)

  1. "Future Sounds (AleXanna Remix)" (4:45)
  2. "16 Tons - AleXanna Featuring Ranking Roger" (3:05)
  3. "Rock the Casbah (AleXanna Remix)" (5:51)
  4. "Return of the Dread-I (Dopegrinders)" (4:17)
  5. "Muscle Ska (AleXanna Remix)" (6:39)
  6. "Spaceman (Ambient Version - Mr Anonymous)" (5:38)
  7. "On the Road (Dopegrinders)" (3:38)
  8. "Side to Side (Dopegrinders)" (3:48)
  9. "Yam and Banana (Mr Anonymous)" (5:09)
  10. "Mirror in the Bathroom (Gaudi Remix)" (3:29)
  11. "Freedom" (5:36)
  12. "Joe 90 Meets Thunderbirds Near the Tardis (Dub)" (5.10)

Bounce - The Beat featuring Ranking Roger (2016 DMF records)

  1. "Walking on the Wrong Side" (3.04)
  2. "Busy Busy Doing Nothing" (2.24)
  3. "Heaven Hiding" (3.11)
  4. "Avoid the Obvious" (3.01)
  5. "Fire Burn" (3.56)
  6. "On My Way" (3.02)
  7. "Work Work Work" (2.50)
  8. "Talkin’ About Her" (3.42)
  9. "Side to Side" (3.42)
  10. "My Dream" (4.22)
  11. "Close the Door" (4.21)

Public Confidential - The Beat featuring Ranking Roger (January 2019 DMF Records)

  1. "Maniac" (3.28)
  2. "Public Confidential" (3.07)
  3. "Who's Dat Looking" (2.43)
  4. "On the Road" (3.16)
  5. "Dangerous" (4.58)
  6. "Long Call Short Talk" (3.31)
  7. "Giving It Up" (3.15)
  8. "A Good Day for Sunshine" (2.42)
  9. "Skank Away" (3:02)
  10. "Civilisation" (3:19)
  1. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2002) The Great Rock Discography, 6th Edition, Canongate, .mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:"\"""\"""'""'"}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/65/Lock-green.svg/9px-Lock-green.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-gray-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-red-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4c/Wikisource-logo.svg/12px-Wikisource-logo.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}ISBN 1-84195-312-1, p. 72
  2. ^ a b Huey, Steve "Ranking Roger Biography", Allmusic, retrieved 2010-02-17
  3. ^ Jon Pareles, Patricia Romanowski, Holly George-Warren (1997) The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll, Pocket Books, ISBN 978-0-684-81044-7
  4. ^ Moskowitz, David V. (2006) Caribbean Popular Music: an Encyclopedia of Reggae, Mento, Ska, Rock Steady, and Dancehall, Greenwood Press, ISBN 0-313-33158-8, p. 246
  5. ^ Dave Wakeling interview
  6. ^ Block, Adam (1985). "David Wakeling Goes Public." Mother Jones Magazine- "Music" section, Feb-Mar 1985. Retrieved 6-25-2017.
  7. ^ a b Brady, Poppy (2016). "Ranking Roger's four decades on ska's front line." The Voice Online October 12, or December 10, 2016. Retrieved 6-25-2017.
  8. ^ VH1 Bands Reunited (2004) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUKLV9akM5c
  9. ^ "Ranking Roger - Radical Departure". Discogs. Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  10. ^ "Ranking Roger - Inside My Head". Discogs. Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  11. ^ "Special Beat | Biography & History | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  12. ^ "Pato Banton And Ranking Roger With [Special Guests] Steel Pulse - Pato & Roger Come Again". Discogs. Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  13. ^ "Pato* & Roger* - Pato & Roger (Ago Talk)". Discogs. Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  14. ^ "Pato Banton with Ranking Roger - Bubbling Hot". Discogs. Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  15. ^ "Official Charts". Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  16. ^ Kevin Misan (2007-09-06), The Police with Rankin Roger (Roxanne), retrieved 2017-06-27
  17. ^ "Ranking Roger and Mick Jones: A musical mutual appreciation society". marcoonthebass.blogspot.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  18. ^ "Walls Come Tumbling Down". Daniel Rachel. Retrieved 2017-06-28.
  19. ^ "Ranking Roger - Retrospective - Looking Back 2010-1988". Discogs. Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  20. ^ "Rock The Casbah - An EP by Ranking Roger: Retrospective - Looking Back 2010-1988". PledgeMusic. Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  21. ^ The Truth About Cats & Dogs (1996), retrieved 2017-06-27
  22. ^ "The Beat (2) With Ranking Roger - Live In London". Discogs. Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  23. ^ "Ranking Roger - Pop Off The Headtop". Discogs. Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  24. ^ "'We're Not the Kind of Band That Just Stands Around on Stage'". theMusic. Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  25. ^ "Rock The Casbah - An EP by Ranking Roger: Rock The Casbah - An EP by Ranking Roger". PledgeMusic. Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  26. ^ "The Beat (2) Feat. Ranking Roger - Bounce". Discogs. Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  27. ^ a b Young, Graham (2016-09-03). "First new album in 30 years for The Beat feat Ranking Roger". birminghammail. Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  28. ^ Bounce by The English Beat, retrieved 2017-06-27
  29. ^ "Bounce - Record Collector Magazine". recordcollectormag.com. Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  30. ^ "ALBUM REVIEW: THE BEAT FEAT RANKING ROGER – BOUNCE | Welcome to UK Music Reviews". www.ukmusicreviews.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  31. ^ "History". The Beat Official Website. 2012-06-18. Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  32. ^ "THE BEAT FEAT RANKING ROGER / THE SELECTER CO-HEADLINE SHOW AT LONDON ROUNDHOUSE!". The Beat Official Website. 2017-01-25. Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  33. ^ "Statement regarding Ranking Roger". The Beat Official Website. 2018-09-21.
  34. ^ Pearis, Bill (26 March 2019). "Ranking Roger (The English Beat, General Public), dead at 56". BrooklynVegan. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
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