Legal name: Roger Charlery
Ranking Roger (born Roger Charlery, 21 February 1961) 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 General Public. He leads a re-formed Beat line-up with drummer Everett Morton.
The "Ranking" moniker is short for "Top Ranking" or "High Ranking," and is a boast typical of many MC's.
Roger was born in Birmingham, England, the son of Jean Baptiste Charlery. He 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 Andy "Stoker" Growcott of Dexys Midnight Runners and Horace Panter of The Specials. They released the album All the Rage, aided by the single "Tenderness". In 1986 they released Hand to Mouth which was significantly less successful, and the band soon split up.
In 1995 Roger and Wakeling reformed General Public with a new supporting band, and released the 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. 1988'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 Staple of The Specials.
In the early 1990s, Roger joined members of The Specials to form the new band Special Beat which released two live albums. In 1996 Roger sang back-up and toasting on the new version of "The Bed's Too Big Without You" on Sting's "Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot" CD-Maxi single. 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', has followed in his father's footsteps. In 2005, he appeared on The Ordinary Boys' hit single "Boys Will Be Boys". In 2003, The Beat's original line-up, minus Cox and Steele, played a sold-out one-off gig at the Royal Festival Hall. In 2005, The Beat re-formed, counting Roger and Everett Morton of the original line-up, with Ranking Junior also on vocals. The Beat performed at Glastonbury the same year with new material written by Ranking Junior. The band is said to have the blessing of Cox, Steele and Saxa.
Roger appeared on two tracks 'Future Dub' and 'Come Around' from the 2008/9 album 'Turning Point' by Snakestyle.
Roger sang on "Roxanne" on stage with The Police on their 2007 world tour, and has regularly recorded with Sting.
He was also a guest performer on Big Audio Dynamite's seventh album, Higher Power, in 1994, when the band were known as simply 'Big Audio'. He later became a member of Big Audio Dynamite for their final studio album Entering a New Ride (1997).
Roger has four sisters; Annie; Juliet; Sandra and Equilar who was a backing singer for him. He also has a half brother and sister, Kevin and Sarah Charlery.
- ^ Strong, Martin C. (2002) The Great Rock Discography, 6th Edition, Canongate, ISBN 1-84195-312-1, p. 72
- ^ Huey, Steve "Ranking Roger Biography", Allmusic, retrieved 2010-02-17
- ^ Jon Pareles, Patricia Romanowski, Holly George-Warren (1997) The "Rolling Stone" Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll, Pocket Books, ISBN 978-0-684-81044-7
- ^ Moskowitz, David V. (2006) Caribbean Popular Music: an Encyclopedia of Reggae, Mento, Ska, Rock Steady, and Dancehall, Greenwood Press, ISBN 0-313-33158-8, p. 246
- ^ Dave Wakeling interview