Biography

Ranking Roger (b. 21 February 1961), born Roger Charlery in Birmingham, is an English musician. He was a vocalist in the 1980s two-tone band, The Beat (known in the U.S. as The English Beat) and one of its successor bands, General Public. He leads a re-formed Beat line-up.

Roger became a punk rock fan as a teenager and joined ska revival pioneers the Beat in the late 1970s. 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).

After The Beat’s 1983 break-up, he and Wakeling formed General Public with Mickey Billingham and Stoker of Dexy’s Midnight Runners and Horace Panter of The Specials. They released the album All the Rage, a British hit, aided by the single “Tenderness”. In 1986 they released Hand to Mouth which was significantly less successful, and the band soon split up. Roger and Wakeling’s General Public returned with a new supporting band in 1995 with their album “Rub It better.” Roger and Wakeling also worked on various projects and reunited for the Threesome soundtrack, recording a cover of “I’ll Take You There”.

Roger has also released two solo albums. 1998’s “Radical Departure” album included band members Horace Panter and Fuzz Townshend. On 2001’s “Inside my Head” album, Roger pursued a more dance/electronic sound, including the song “Muscle Ska” that was co-written with Neville Staples of The Specials.

In the early 1990s, Roger joined members of The Specials to form the new band The Special Beat, which released two live albums. The rock band Smash Mouth featured Roger on their song “You Are My Number One” in 2003.

Ranking Roger’s son, Matthew Murphy - ‘Ranking Junior’ aka ‘Mini Murphy’, has followed in his father’s footsteps. In 2005, he appeared on The Ordinary Boys’ single “Boys Will Be Boys”. In 2003, the Beat’s original line-up, minus Cox and Steele but with the addition of Junior, played a sold-out one-off gig at the Royal Festival Hall. As of 2005, The Beat has re-formed, counting Roger, Blockhead and Morton of the original line-up, with Ranking Junior also on vocals. The Beat performed at Glastonbury 2005 with new material written by Ranking Junior and with a special guest appearance from Neville Staples of the Specials. The band is said to have the blessing of Cox, Steele and Saxa.

Roger has recorded a new album with current members of The Beat, & it is currently being mixed by Adrian Sherwood.

Edited by creativemidland on 25 May 2008, 00:33

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