“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,” the band confirmed in a tweet.
“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 humour, 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’.
“We would ask that everyone respect the family’s privacy at this very sad time.”
Hall had risen to become a pioneer of the ska genre and the music industry more generally, following his success with The Specials in the late 70s and early 80s.
Prior to their split in 1981, the band had a series of number one hits, including ‘Rat Race’, ‘Ghost Town’ and the instantly recognisable ‘A Message To You, Rudy’.
The Specials had formed in 1977 in Hall’s home city, Coventry. Their socially conscious music, with songs that discussed issues such as racism, unemployment and poverty, catapulted them as leaders in the multiracial 2 Tone movement.
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
Originally called The Automatics, the group changed their name to The Coventry Automatics, then The Specials AKA The Automatics before finally settling on The Specials in 1978.
The group also had a personnel change as well, with the first lineup consisting of Jerry Dammers, Lynval Golding and Horace Panter, before Hall joined a year later along with Neville Staple, Roddy Byers and John Bradbury joining a year later.
When the group disbanded, Hall, Golding and Staple went on to form Fun Boy Three, releasing two albums and having seven UK top 20 hits between 1981 and 1983.
Dammers and Bradbury, meanwhile, released an album under the moniker The Special AKA, which included the hit single ‘Free Nelson Mandela’ in 1984.
Staple has described how he was “deeply saddened” following the passing of his former bandmate. “We knew Terry had been unwell but didn’t realise how serious until recently,” he wrote.
He went on to say the pair had only recently “confirmed some 2023 joint music agreements together”. “This has hit me hard and must be extremely difficult for Terry’s wife and family,” he added.