Remembering the moment Ranking Roger joined The Clash to cover ‘Police & Thieves’ in 1981
Today we lost a legend. Ranking Roger was lead singer of The Beat and one of the foremost figures of the Two-Tone movement sadly lost his battle against illness and passed away peacefully surrounded by his friends and family. We celebrate his life and career by remembering this perfect moment where Roger joins his friends The Clash on stage in Paris to cover Junior Murvin’s ‘Police & Thieves’.
Two-tone was a pivotal movement during the late 70s and 80s in the UK. A fusion of Ska and punk attitudes the scene grew beyond a music genre and looked to encapsulate a generation who had grown tired of division. A similar act who championed this unity was The Clash, who by 1981 was a global sensation, and so the latter invited The Beat to join them on tour.
One stop on this tour was Theatre Mogador, Paris which saw The Clash hold a residency and The Beat support them on stage. On most of the nights Roger would find himself on stage singing with the band covering Willie Williams’ ‘Armagideon Time’. But on 26th September, Ranking got up and belted out a new tune covering Murvin’s ‘Police & Thieves’ which featured on their debut self-titled LP.
And so, the below audio has surfaced of The Clash performing with The Beat’s Ranking Roger from 1981, it’s grainy, it’s sonically painful in places but it has all the power, purpose and energy that made Ranking Roger one of the foremost lead singers of UK music history.