...Ranking Roger? We know he was one half of the duo General Public and a huge part of English Beat before that, but what happened after he and Dave Wakerling called it quits? Well, I know he had a pretty decent solo album in 1988 because the single "So Excited" has been running in my head for months. The album it was from, 'Radical Departure', has been out of print for years, but I got pretty excited when I heard the label it was on, I.R.S., was reissuing a bunch of material from that period and putting it on iTunes. Perfect. I can shell out 99 cents and get this song out of my head already. Well, I.R.S. seemed to put everything out there... except Ranking Roger.
Finally, a couple of weeks ago I went hunting on eBay and bid 99 cents for the CD. I was the only bidder. As I'm sitting here listening to it for the first time in many years, I'm struck by how catchy that single is to this day. I did a little searching around and found out Ranking Roger did have another solo record, 'Inside My Head', in 2001. I have never heard it. In fact, the only media exposure I remember from his solo career is the video for "So Excited" that was played on MTV's '120 Minutes' a few times when it was released. So, where is Ranking Roger now? Smash Mouth featured Roger on "You Are My Number One" in 2003. Today, like fellow second-wave ska sensations Madness and The Specials, English Beat have reformed in recent years (although some key band members are not involved), and there will be a new record.
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