A little “Tenderness” – Rest In Peace Ranking Roger

I don’t know where to start or where to stop
My luck’s like a button
I can’t stop pushing it
My head feels light
But I’m still in the dark
Seems like without tenderness there’s something missing

Everyone has that one song (at least I hope to God they do) that they can put on whenever, wherever and the music, the lyrics completely change everything. In the darkest of the dark when the dawn feels so far away that you might never see it your song is all you need to hear to put it all right even if it’s just for 3 minutes.

“Ranking” Roger Charley who is best know for being a vocalist for The (English) Beat passed at age 56 today after battling various cancers. The Beat were a good, sometimes great second wave ska band in the early 80s. I unabashedly LOVE ska music, haters be damned. If you don’t like ska then you have no soul but that’s neither here no there. The Beat, The Specials and Madness – that’s the holy trinity of English ska right there.

After the dissolution of The Beat, their two vocalists Ranking Roger and Dave Wakeling, formed General Public with members of Dexy’s Midnight Runners and The Specials. In 1984 General Public released All the Rage with the single “Tenderness”:

Is Tenderness the greatest pop song ever made? For me, yes. It is. Disagree if you must but I don’t care. I just can’t imagine a human hearing those opening keyboards and not smiling. It’s just not possible. It’s an instant endorphin rush. The hand claps. The ahhhhs. Pure pop sugar bliss.

It’s cliche to say that art and creativity is what separates human beings from the rest of the animal world but it is true. Ranking Roger created music that will last, that affected people in deep and meaningful ways and that’s a legacy that not many of us will get. Thank you Roger Charley for being there when no one else could be.

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