Terry Hall death: Elvis Costello and UB40 lead tributes to Specials frontman Terry Hall


Tributes have poured in from across the music industry following the news of The Specials frontman Terry Hall’s death.

The Coventry two-tone band announced that Hall had died aged 63 on Monday (19 December) following a brief illness.

The band tweeted: “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 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’.”

Singer-songwriter Elvis Costello was one of the many to pay tribute to his fellow artist, whose voice he described as the “perfect instrument”.

“Sad to receive the news of Terry Hall’s passing last night from Lynval Golding,” he wrote.

“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.”

“Recovery” singer Frank Turner also expressed his sadness at the news: “God damnit. Just heard the news about Terry Hall. What an absolute sadness. The Specials were one of the most important bands for me as a kid. Taught me many things I needed to know. Gutted. RIP.”

Longtime radio host Simon Mayo, meanwhile, tweeted: “Very sad news indeed. One of the best. Loved his shows.”

Jane Weildan, co-founder of The Go Go’s also paid tribute to the singer’s character. The guitarist explained how after the pair had a romance, they had written a song together.

“Gutted to hear of the passing of #terryhall. He was a lovely, sensitive, talented and unique person,” she wrote.

“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.”

UB40 have also expressed their sadness at the news of Hall’s death: “We are very sad to hear of the passing of Terry Hall the lead singer of @thespecials. Another one gone too soon!”

Matt Goss, of eighties band Bros said that he was “in shock” after hearing the news.

“I’m in shock that one of my favourite singer songwriters, Terry Hall has passed away.”

“The Specials represent my youth, they represent everything about my teenage years, they were THE BAND that got us out of our homes and into the school discos & clubs!” he added.

Two and a Half Men star Jon Cryer, clearly a fan of Hall’s work, responded: “Terry Hall, also of Fun Boy Three, the Colourfield and co-writer of ‘Our Lips Are Sealed’ has died. So much great music.”

“Very very sad to hear about Terry Hall. Truly one of the greats. A musical hero,” fellow musician Badly Drawn Boy tweeted.

DJ and presenter Jo Whiley wrote: “Horrid news. Have always been a fan. So many songs of Terry Hall that I’ve loved throughout my life. Specials. Fun Boy Three. Colourfield.”

Boy George tweeted: “Very sad to hear about Terry Hall! Absolutely loved him as an artist. Sad day!”

The Specials were formed in Hall’s home city of Coventry in 1977 by Jerry Dammers, Lynval Golding and Horace Panter – with Hall, Neville Staple, Roddy Byers and John Bradbury joining a year later.

During their time together, The Specials produced a string of hit records including “A Message To You”, “Rudy”, “Rat Race” and “Ghost Town”, all of which reached number one.

Hall had two sons, Theo and Felix, with Jeanette Hall.