Terry Corridor, performing the hit single “Do Nothing” along with his band The Specials on BBC tv in 1980, did an ironic eye roll when he sang about “looking for a future”. It was a time of excessive unemployment, racist violence and recession within the UK. Good luck looking for a future in all that.
Along with his lengthy options and laconic method, like an apprentice undertaker, Corridor had a great face for delivering dangerous information. However what gave the impression to be a dead-end was really the alternative. The singer, who has died aged 63, was ushering in a brand new period for British pop within the early Eighties.
The Specials had been one of many key bands of their time. Fashioned in 1977 in Corridor’s hometown of Coventry, within the English Midlands, they had been a racially blended group of musicians who performed Jamaican ska within the type of British punk rockers, or punk within the type of ska. Corridor was co-lead vocalist with Neville Staple. Their contrasting complexions, and people of their bandmates, had been mirrored within the black-and-white design of the document label that The Specials arrange, 2 Tone Information. It performed a central function within the ska revival of the early Eighties, a basis stone in the direction of the multicultural sound of at the moment’s UK charts.
Corridor grew up in a working-class family, with each mother and father working in Coventry’s automotive business. Having left college at 14, he joined an area punk band whereas supporting himself with informal jobs. He was working in a stamp store when he was recruited to The Specials by the band’s keyboardist and important songwriter, Jerry Dammers. “Philately will get you nowhere,” Dammers punned. Suitably flattered, Corridor joined up.
The Specials had a prime 10 hit in 1979 with their first single, “Gangsters”. Gigs had been high-octane affairs, fusing the rebellious energies of reggae, punk and post-punk. Politics featured prominently, together with a number one function within the Rock Towards Racism motion in opposition to far-right race hatred. Their basic hit “Ghost Town” topped the charts in 1981 as rioting erupted in British cities. Its ghostly fairground ska was the mournful sound of a smouldering nation — whilst its blended musical identification imagined one other future.
Corridor didn’t put on his celeb calmly. “I don’t wish to be on an enormous stage with vibrant lights and youngsters gawping at me. I’d a lot favor them to show their backs on me and simply dance,” he mentioned in 1980. However regardless of his show of disaffection, or maybe due to it, he was a magnetic stage performer. “I used to be obsessive about him,” Blur’s Damon Albarn would recall later. “I couldn’t think about anybody cooler.”
As a result of inner tensions — his relationship with Dammers turned notably fraught — Corridor left The Specials in 1981. He and Staple shaped Enjoyable Boy Three with one other ex-Specials member, Lynval Golding. Their placing new wave pop demonstrated Corridor’s eclectic ear: their 1982 hit “It Aint What You Do . . .” was an ingenious cowl of a Nineteen Thirties jazz normal. Amongst these paying consideration was the Bristol rapper Tough, who filtered their affect into his groundbreaking music within the Nineties. One other future was being mapped out.
“A number of the stuff I’ve completed is just about a wind-up,” Corridor claimed in 1995. His work after Enjoyable Boy Three broke up in 1983 had a stressed high quality, together with collaborations and solo albums. Types ranged from classic-pop pastiche in 1990’s Extremely Fashionable Nursery Rhymes to worldbeat in 2003’s The Hour of Two Lights. In 2008, he joined a reunited line-up of The Specials, which led to 2 new albums. Survived by his second spouse, their son and two sons from a earlier marriage, his dying follows a quick sickness. It brings a sadly untimely finish to the lifetime of a singer who helped British pop to seek out its future.