Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

The AIR Pays Tribute To Ranking Roger

We have a full-blown PopCulteer coming your way Friday afternoon, but this morning we’re going to tell you about today’s schedule on The AIR, as Friday sees special new episodes of Radio Free Charleston International and Sydney’s Big Electric Cat, both of which pay tribute to “Ranking Roger” Charley, who passed away Tuesday afternoon. You can listen at the website, or on this embedded radio player…

Ranking Roger came to prominence as a member of The Beat (The English Beat, here in the US). He joined the band when he was still in his teens, and set the standard for toasting and dancing during the second wave Ska movement of the early 1980s. After three albums with the pioneering ska band, Roger joined Dave Wakeling, the Beat’s lead singer, in a new group, General Public, and they had several hits before going their separate ways. In recent years, Ranking Roger reformed The Beat in London, while Wakeling formed his version of the band, now officially called “The English Beat,” in Los Angeles, and the two coexisited on peaceful and friendly terms.

Last Sunday, when I posted the vintage Ska performance movie, Dance Craze here in PopCult, I mentioned that this week’s episode of Radio Free Charleston International would be devoted to Ska music. With Roger’s passing on the day before I was set to record the show, I decided to make the first hour a tribute, bringing together music from The English Beat, General Public, Roger’s solo works and his reformed version of The Beat, which just relased a great new album a few weeks ago. It was during the mixing of this new album, “Public Confidential,” that Roger fell ill, and was discovered to have two brain tumors and lung cancer. Despite all this adversity, Roger remained upbeat while doing publicity for the album.

I had originally planned to open RFC International with the song “Good Day For Sunshine” off of that new album, but now it’s the second song you hear in the show. We open with “Ranking Full Stop,” his introductory song from the original Beat.

Our graphic at the head of this post is an unused album cover that cartoonist, Hunt Emerson, posted to Facebook following the news of Roger’s death. Emerson designed flyer art and album and single sleeves for the band, and it was nice to see such a lovely tribute. I hope he’s cool with me sharing his art here. It perfectly captured Roger’s spirit.

The second hour of this week’s show jumps around with examples of first, second and third wave Ska, and I even worked in a local band. All times listed are EDT.

At 1 PM, Radio Free Charleston International goes Ska, with a tribute to Ranking Roger. Here’s the playlist…

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The English Beat “Ranking Full Stop”
The Beat “A Good Day For Sunshine”
Ranking Roger “One Minute Closer (To Death)”
General Public “General Public”
The English Beat “Doors Of Your Heart”
Ranking Roger “Wingmaker Dub Pt 3)
The Beat “Long Call Short Talk”
The Beat “Skank Away”
Ranking Roger “They Know”
General Public” As A Matter Of Fact”
The English Beat “Spar Wid Me”
The English Beat “Stand Down Margeret/Whine & Grind”
The Beat “Public Confidential”
The English Beat (2018) “Redemption Time”
The Specials “A Message To You, Rudy”
Desmond Dekker “The Israelites”
The Skatalites “Lucky Seven”
Madness “Night Boat To Cairo”
The Toasters “Don’t Let The Bastards Grind You Down”
Bad Manners “Lip Up Fatty”
Save Ferris “Lies”
Operation Ivy “Take Warning”
Goldfinger “You Think It’s A Joke”
Reel Big Fish “It’s Not Easy”
No Doubt “Blue In the Face”
The Selecter “Big Badoof”
The Aquabats “Idiot Box”
The Science Fair Explosion “Before It Ends”
Gogo 13 “House Ape”

Radio Free Charleston International is the show where I play whatever I want, and you can hear RFC International Friday at 1 PM, with replays Friday at  10 PM, Saturday afternoon, Sundat at 1 AM and 2 PM and Tuesday at 11 PM, exclusively on The AIR.

At 3 PM Sydney’s Big Electric Cat includes a few tributes to Roger among its two hours of New Wave bliss. Legendary London DJ, Sydney Fileen, who graces us with her presence each week, was a fixture on the London music scene in the early 80s, and counts many New Wave and Ska musicians among her personal friends. This week she plays a few tracks featuring Roger, and also brings us a set of pure British Ska of the New Wave Vintage. You can see the playlist for Sydney’s show right here…

BEC 043

General Public “Tenderness”
Ranking Roger “Falling Down”
Madness “Embarrssment”
The Selector “On My Radio”
Bad Manners “Baby Elephant Walk”
The Higsons “Run Me Down”
The Specials “Concrete Jungle
Adam and The Ants “Antmusic”
XTC “Neon Shuffle”
Small Affairs “Pictures & Magazines”
Les Enfants “Flesh and Blood”
Ultravox “Mr. X”
Toyah “Ieya”
The Dickies “You Drive Me Ape (You Big Gorilla)”
The English Beat “Rough Rider”
ABC “4 Ever 2 Gether”
Erasure “Ship of Fools”
Duran Duran “Hold Back The Rain”
Gary Numan “Are friends Electric (live)”
Joy Division “Disorder”
Ellen Foley “Stupid Girl”
Talk Talk “Dum Dum Girl”
Naked Eyes “Flag of Convenience”
Men At Work “Dr. Heckyll and Mr. Jive”
The Producers “”Femme Fatles (The Woman With The Orchid)”
Berlin “Pleasure Victim”

Each week Sydney Fileen brings you two hours of the best music of the New Wave era. Sydney’s Big Electric Cat is produced at Haversham Recording Institute in London, and can be heard on Friday at 3 PM, with replays Saturday afternoon, Tuesday at 7 AM, Wednesday at 8 PM and Thursday at 10AM, exclusively on The AIR.

Friday mornings now kick off with a 7 AM replay of the week’s new episode of Prognosis, followed by Word Association with Lee & Rudy at 9 AM and The BS Crazy Show at 9:30. This one-hour combo of Word Association and The BS Crazy Show will repeat at 9 PM, for those of you who don’t want to listen to these NSFW programs at work.

At 10 AM The AIR will broadcast The Best of The Real with Mark Wolfe. At 11 AM we’ll bring you two hours of The AIR Music Mix, featuring a great assortment of music by local artists.

Look for The PopCulteer, featuring the long-awaited ToyLanta Diorama photo essay, late Friday afternoon.

1 Comment

  1. Rand Brown

    The Beat in any form are one of my fav’s. Hated to hear of Rodgers passing. The Ska world lost a master.

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