As we approach the first anniversary for the passing of the legend that is Ranking Roger, I wanted to celebrate the greatness he left behind for us all.
My first vivid memory of him was while sitting in my mate’s back room, watching The Beat perform ‘Tears of a Clown’ on Top of the Pops back in my distant past of 1979. I was just thirteen years old and it changed my life from that moment. I was completely hooked! I knew this music was going to be my path. Roger’s smile, his moves, his energy and his happiness at being up there on stage doing it just got me. He was cool and full of life. We hadn’t seen or heard anything like it.
Well, I can tell you Roger, me and my mates were all out there doing it with you!
My greatest memory is of arriving at a twelve hour sponsored dance session at our shabby old secondary school. That echoey hall, filled with anticipation of our favourite music and showing off our best outfits, in keeping with the musical path we had chosen.
For me, age fourteen, I was dressed in a black mini skirt with a pink Fred Perry T-shirt and brand new, shiny burgundy loafers which gave me painful blisters on my heels from the constant hours of dancing and skanking but refusing to remove my coolest shoes ever!
Oh the memories! Do you remember those days when you’d rather have pain and look the part than take off those shoes? How important it was to show what your fashion meant to the world?
I remember immaculately dressed lads with us, all in their perfect Ben Shermans, braces and Harrington jackets, going wild on the dance floor. All of us together, loving every minute of tracks like ‘Mirror in the Bathroom’, ‘Ranking Full Stop’ and ‘Hands Off, She’s Mine’ and that distinct voice of Roger, giving it his all.
It was a moment in time that we will keep in our hearts forever. Our love for Roger and all that he gave has followed us through our lives, into our fifties with timeless tracks that we still blast out daily to our kids. I for one, love it when my eight-year-old son sings along in the car to tracks like ‘Jackpot’ and ‘Too Nice to Talk To’, taking on Roger’s part with love and happiness.
Sadly, I never got to see him perform near the end but watching footage of him still giving it his all on stage with son, Ranking Jnr, made us smile and kept us dancing, just as it did all those years ago. Tracks like ‘Avoid the Obvious’ and ‘Side to Side’ in later times, I loved so very much, showing his passion for music still fired up within him. I for one would love to see more of Ranking Jnr. He has that same fire and passion that his father had.
You left something very special for us all Roger and your memory will live forever.
Thank you for the music, the fun, the fantastic skanking, the energy and the smiles.
In loving memory of a true legend
Rest in peace Roger