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Ranking Roger

Ranking-Roger-PhotoI remember being turned onto The Beat (known as The English Beat in America) at a Super Bowl Party in Chicago in 1983. As the Program Director for a rock radio station in the metro, that the boyfriend of my girlfriend's sister knew more about cool new music than I (he also turned me on to The Radiators) was, to be sure, disturbing to my ego. But, I'll always treasure those discoveries.

The Beat was a conundrum for rock radio in America (which is why I tell myself I missed them). Mixing Ska, Soul, Punk, Reggae, Rock (and a little Roxy Music), those of us that picked the winners and losers that you would get to hear on the radio were generally on the fence for the first two albums. The third, "Special Beat Service" broke them wide open.

And then, it was over and Ranking Roger and bandmate Dave Wakeling (who once said all bands only have three great albums) pivoted and formed General Public.

The Beat was planning to celebrate 40 years tonight in Santa Cruz. It will be without Ranking Roger, who jumped to the next plane of existence last week.

On this Music Friday, we celebrate his spirit and talent with General Public's cover of the Staple Singers' "I'll Take You There."


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Bill Geist

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