Home Pop Music Terry Corridor and the Enjoyable Boy Three

Terry Corridor and the Enjoyable Boy Three

Terry Corridor and the Enjoyable Boy Three


Fun Boy Three
Photograph by Brian Aris

In December 2022, we misplaced one in every of British pop’s most vital figures with the unhappy passing of Terry Corridor. Taking pictures to fame with The Specials, he additionally broke the mould together with his subsequent band, too. We have a good time his legacy and, with the assistance of Neville Staple and Lynval Golding, have a look again at his revolutionary work with Enjoyable Boy Three… By Dan Biggane

On 18 December 2022, British music mourned the lack of one in every of its most adorable and iconic stars when it was introduced that the singer of ground-breaking Coventry collective The Specials and founding member of Enjoyable Boy Three, Terry Corridor, had died on the age of 63 after a brief battle with most cancers.

“It’s with nice unhappiness that we announce the passing of our stunning buddy, brother and one of the crucial good singers, songwriters and lyricists that this nation has ever produced,” acknowledged The Specials by way of social media. “Terry was a beautiful husband and father and one of many kindest, funniest and most real of souls.”

Simply 11 days earlier, Basic Pop spoke to Corridor’s former Enjoyable Boy Three cohorts, guitarist Lynval Golding and vocalist Neville Staple, to look again and have a good time the trio’s oft-overlooked physique of labor.

Throughout our dialog, Golding describes Corridor as a “very quiet and personal man,” earlier than telling us how he was, “a really vibrant and very smart mental,” praising him for his songwriting abilities for which the guitarist believed he was deserving of extra recognition.

Following the announcement, Staple paid his respects on-line: “I used to be deeply saddened to listen to about Terry Corridor’s passing… We knew Terry had been unwell however didn’t realise how critical issues had turn out to be till lately.”

“Within the music world,” Staple continued, “individuals have many ups and downs, however I’ll dangle on to the nice reminiscences of Terry and I, making historical past fronting The Specials and Enjoyable Boy Three collectively.”


Born in Coventry in 1959, Corridor joined The Specials as their vocalist shortly after the band was fashioned by Jerry Dammers in 1977.

Combining the abrasive perspective of punk with the spirited danceability of ska, the group loved success with a string of hit singles on Dammers’ impartial report label, 2 Tone.

Scoring UK High 10s with Gangsters, A Message To You Rudy, the Too A lot Too Younger EP, Rat Race, Stereotype and Do Nothing, alongside two High 5 albums, Specials (1979) and Extra Specials (1980), the band’s legacy could be cemented eternally with their haunting chart-topper, Ghost City.

Corridor had as soon as stated that he didn’t imagine music might change something, stating: “All you are able to do is put your level throughout”, however in a single politically charged standalone single, The Specials had encapsulated absolutely the despair which existed inside a deeply divided Britain underneath Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Whereas Ghost City topped the UK charts for 3 weeks through the summer season of 1981, divisions had additionally began to develop throughout the band. Speaking from Jamaica, Golding tells Basic Pop: “Ghost City is such a superb report, but it surely was round that point that issues had gotten a little bit bit tough for a few of us in The Specials.

“I feel we have been going by way of a little bit of a patchy spot. We’d been touring and dwelling out of one another’s pockets for a protracted whereas, so it was time to take a little bit of a break and provides one another some room to breathe.”

“To be sincere, every thing was attending to be too heavy,” concurs Staple. “With The Specials there was one common and when you tried to counsel one thing totally different, it was your head on that block.

“I used to be only a child from the streets and didn’t go to school or something like that. So, when you go up towards a really well-educated man like Jerry, you simply needed to step down and take a again seat. I by no means felt like my enter totally acquired acknowledged and after some time it started to play on my thoughts.

“I had shared the lead vocals on Ghost City with Terry and would’ve preferred for that vibe to proceed on into our subsequent album. Nonetheless, Jerry needed to take our sound elsewhere and create a special form of muzak. That was a crunch second for me.”

“Terry and I acquired collectively to jot down through the making of Extra Specials,” continues Golding. “I had been the sufferer of a violent assault and needed to jot down about my experiences. I simply couldn’t perceive why anyone needed to attempt to take another person’s life due to the color of their pores and skin. So I wrote the music Why?

Fun Boy Three
Photograph by Brian Aris

Golding’s monitor would seem on the Ghost City single alongside Corridor’s Friday Evening, Saturday Morning. Arguably the singer’s most vital lyrical contribution to The Specials, his sombre working-class wit shines on what Corridor would describe as, “a secular music a couple of mundane life-style”.

“I imagine I’m blessed to have labored with each the most effective lyricist on the earth in Terry and with one of many best possible arrangers in Jerry,” considers Golding. “It’s an actual pity it didn’t work out with The Specials as a result of that they had such superb artistic visions.

“On these tracks you possibly can hear the route we thought the band needs to be heading. After making Ghost City, Terry and I reconvened within the studio with concepts for the subsequent Specials album and recorded a couple of demos.

“We have been satisfied the pure follow-up to Ghost City ought to’ve been one music we’d written referred to as The Lunatics (Have Taken Over The Asylum). For me, it was a no brainer as a result of it was written when Reagan and Thatcher have been main the world by way of darkish occasions.

“When Terry, Horace [bassist Horace Panter] and I recorded The Specials’ 2019 album Encore, we thought it was needed to return and revisit the monitor as we headed by way of one other unsettling political interval.

“It felt just like the lunatics had as soon as once more taken over the asylum with Trump within the White Home and Brexit/Boris intent on turning individuals towards one another within the UK.”

Rhoda Dakar, vocalist of 2 Tone outfit The Bodysnatchers, tells Basic Pop: “Terry performed me a demo cassette of Lunatics within the airport on a Walkman earlier than I went out with The Specials to America in 1981.

“I sat there within the terminal and thought to myself, ‘Wow! that is good… so, Terry is definitely an awesome songwriter as nicely’. I believed the music was fairly exceptional.”

“At the moment Terry and I have been getting impatient,” acknowledges Golding. “We couldn’t look ahead to Jerry to press the go-ahead button for us to advance with Lunatics, so it was then when concepts for a separate group began to develop for me.”


Backstage at High Of The Pops, the place The Specials have been recording a efficiency of Ghost City, Corridor, Staple and Golding introduced to the remainder of the band that they have been breaking away.

“Once you’re mentally drained, you don’t actually assume, you simply form of react,” admits Golding. “Probably we might have gone on with The Specials and turn out to be mega rich like U2, however would that make us happier? No, I don’t assume so.”

“Terry, Lynval and I left The Specials as a result of it felt like we had no enter and, if we did, it didn’t really feel like we have been being recognised for it anyway,” says Staple. “After we left the band, we didn’t know which highway we have been going to take.

“All we knew was that it was going to be totally different. Whereas Terry was seen because the ‘essential one’, it wasn’t just like the Jerry factor. Everyone, all three of us, had a freedom to do no matter we needed, every thing was equal. We’d simply throw concepts round and we have been those [sings] ‘having all of the enjoyable!’”

Golding says: “As we have been the three entrance guys in The Specials, it was very straightforward to separate ourselves off from the group. For us, the liberty to experiment was rather a lot better inside Enjoyable Boy Three and we might all strive totally different concepts and progress as musicians. Being a artistic artist, you must preserve transferring.”

“Musically, it was completely totally different from The Specials,” provides Staple. “I wouldn’t essentially name it pop, however I might say it was a brand new kind of music. For the primary report there was no ‘band’, we’d simply requested for percussionists to come back in and be a part of us within the studio.

“I used to be in a position to be taught to play the trumpet once I was in Enjoyable Boy Three. You’d have time to do stuff like that. I want I might’ve realized to do this form of factor with Rico [Rodriguez] and Dick [Cuthell] whereas I used to be in The Specials, however there by no means was the time.”

Coming into the UK High 40 at No.37 in November 1981, The Lunatics (Have Taken Over The Asylum) would peak at No.20 for 3 weeks earlier than slipping out of the charts.

The reasoning for such a disappointing efficiency is a thriller, however maybe Staple’s commentary provides one thing of an evidence: “There have been lots of people who turned their noses up at what we have been doing on the time, saying, ‘Ooh that’s not The Specials…’ – nicely, we weren’t presupposed to be The Specials!”

Maybe Enjoyable Boy Three didn’t pack the identical speedy punch as The Specials’ model of socio-political ska-punk, nevertheless the hits would quickly land.

After the High 20 success of The Lunatics (Have Taken Over The Asylum), the band discovered themselves within the High 10 with each It Ain’t What You Do (It’s The Method That You Do It) and Actually Saying One thing, which they recorded with an unknown trio of women, who’d go on to attain the world’s highest variety of chart entries by an all-female group.

Golding says: “Enjoyable Boy Three have been fairly laid-back. We loved success, however we have been by no means as forceful as The Specials. That doesn’t imply the songs weren’t as lyrically or musically sturdy, I imagine they’re simply as vital and performed an enormous half throughout that interval.

“Terry and I shared every thing once we have been creating, I simply needed to provide you with an thought or a title of a music and he’d come again with the entire lyrics… like a thoughts reader he might get into my head and say every thing I used to be considering.

“One other instance of his ingenious foresight was the choice to work with Bananarama. Terry noticed these three women and stated, ‘We’re going to launch a pop report with them’.

“He then plucks this previous jazz music out from nowhere, [sings] It Ain’t What You Do, It’s The Method That You Do It, and the subsequent factor you understand it’s a success. I have to give Terry the credit score for having that imaginative and prescient.”

Shaped as a trio in 1980 by mates Sara Dallin, Siobhan Fahey and Keren Woodward, Bananarama caught the eye of Corridor after they appeared in The Face journal. It Ain’t What You Do… proved the proper launchpad for the ’Nanas in 1982 and helped safe Enjoyable Boy Three a No.4 hit.

Reacting to Corridor’s loss of life, Bananarama posted on-line: “We’re so saddened to listen to of Terry’s passing. It was a telephone name from him that modified our lives.

“It was a pleasure and a privilege to have recognized him. We’ll treasure the reminiscences of the time we spent with this stunning, proficient and humorous gentleman.”

Wanting again on the time he spent with Bananarama, Staple remembers: “It was nice, I actually loved hanging out with the ladies. I keep in mind they didn’t know an excessive amount of about working within the studio on the time and gave the impression to be a bit nervous. So we form of helped ease them by way of all of it.”

“It was such a joyous and inventive time,” provides Golding. “I feel all three of them are great. However I let you know this, man these women might drink! They drank us underneath the desk!”


Launched in March 1982, Enjoyable Boy Three’s eponymous debut was produced by the band with Dave Jordan who they knew from working alongside Dammers on the Extra Specials LP.

Enjoyable Boy Three spent three weeks within the UK High 10 and would peak at No.7. Inside a yr, the group had recorded and launched their follow-up album, the David Byrne-produced Ready, which had a pop-oriented really feel and extra polished end.

Photograph by Brian Aris

Golding says: “That first Specials album, which we made in 1979, was a ‘band’ report the place everybody contributed. Elvis Costello, working the manufacturing, actually lifted the method for us all.

“With Elvis there was a number of alcohol within the studio, and we’d usually get very drunk… it was very a lot a white wine and beer album.

“On The Enjoyable Boy Three, we had a special form of artistic enjoyable within the studio experimenting and exploring sounds. Bringing in one other ‘identify’ like David Byrne to supply Ready was inspiring, and his absolute genius tapped into one thing inside us.

“You’re employed with some producers and so they are available in with these large egos, however David simply allow us to carry out. He’s a really quiet man, and would sit in his chair, hearken to what we have been doing, wait till we’d end earlier than gently suggesting we tried it a special approach. He was so cool, calm and accommodating, a beautiful man to work with.”

Staple agrees: “I keep in mind considering, ‘Woah, we’re going to be working with David Byrne from Speaking Heads!’ He was a stunning, down-to-earth man, and his affect introduced with it a calming vibe, which actually aided the artistic course of.

“He additionally introduced with him musicians, and each a musicianship and talent to seize all of the concepts we needed to specific. His enter was invaluable.”

Though Ready, launched in February 1983, didn’t get pleasure from the identical chart success because the trio’s debut, it was nonetheless critically nicely acquired – notably by the US press.

Robert Palmer of The New York Occasions celebrated the LP’s “barbed political and social commentary”, whereas David Fricke of Rolling Stone praised Byrne’s “suave manufacturing”.

Spawning two UK High 10 singles, The Tunnel Of Love (No.10) and Our Lips Are Sealed (No.7), issues seemingly ended abruptly for Enjoyable Boy Three when, after two albums, the collective dissolved.

“I didn’t comprehend it was going to finish,” states Staple. “I used to be in Jamaica on vacation once I acquired a phone name from England saying, ‘I didn’t know that Enjoyable Boy Three had break up up’… and all I might say in response was, ‘Have we? ’I truthfully had no thought, there was no dialogue, it simply occurred.

“We might have carried on and accomplished yet another report. It’s such a disgrace we chucked all of it down the drain. I actually love the Enjoyable Boy Three stuff and I do know lots of people like these information, too.”

“In The Specials we had a platform to talk out for a technology and stated what wanted to be stated on the time,” provides Golding. “That was such an vital factor to do. Our time in Enjoyable Boy Three was at all times a lot calmer and there was by no means any fear of it burning out like The Specials.

“Nonetheless, it was the fitting time to have a break, sit again, and have a look at the journey we’d all been on. Terry needed to discover different issues and I feel, when you’re an artist, you shouldn’t maintain one other artist again… they should have that freedom to be artistic. I do hope that someday he will get the popularity his abilities deserve.”


When The Specials acknowledged that Corridor “encapsulated the very essence of life… the enjoyment, the ache, the humour, the combat for justice, however largely the love”, that sentiment reverberated across the music world.

Horace Panter revealed in a transferring publish how The Specials had deliberate to report a reggae album in L.A. in the direction of the tip of 2022 earlier than Corridor was taken unwell. He went on to state: “The world has misplaced a novel voice and I’ve misplaced a great buddy.”

Jerry Dammers wrote: “Terry’s loss of life could be very surprising, horrible, and tragic information. Past our punky begin on stage, it was within the studio with Elvis Costello producing, the place Terry was in a position to sing quietly, that I feel his hidden energy got here out, a supply which introduced out the melancholy in a few of The Specials’ songs, and which I feel lots of people might relate to.”

Costello himself added: “Terry’s voice was the proper instrument for the true and needed songs on The Specials. That honesty is heard in so lots of his songs in pleasure and sorrow.”

Rhoda Dakar, who duetted with Corridor on The Specials’ I Can’t Stand It and Pearl’s Café, tells Basic Pop: “In The Specials, he introduced an anger. It wasn’t explosive, because it was with a few of the different guys, it was extra held down.

“The anger got here out within the supply, in his physique language, and thru these eyes… he might throw daggers with a glance when the viewers was being yobbish or sieg heiling. He was excellent at standing as much as them and was at all times in management.

“As a result of he was softly spoken it was much more slicing, individuals needed to shut as much as hear him, after which he would minimize them off on the knees.

“Following the information that he died it was beautiful to search out out that so many individuals held him so pricey. I don’t assume I totally grasped fairly what number of totally different collaborations he’d labored on.”

In 2009, Dakar contributed liner notes to a reissue of Corridor’s solo report, Snigger. “I believed the title was apt as a result of Terry was a humorous particular person,” she stated. “Not humorous peculiar, however humorous ha-ha. I used to be at all times shouting and gregarious, absolutely the antithesis of Terry who was reserved.

“I’ll keep in mind him as anyone who’d do or say stuff for his personal amusement, and it didn’t actually matter if anyone was listening or not. He lived his life to amuse himself, not for different individuals.

“He beloved to take the piss and once I took the piss again, he took it. Individuals who can snicker at themselves with you, are good individuals so far as I’m involved.”

2 Tone labelmate and vocalist for The Selecter, Pauline Black, wrote in an eloquent tribute in The Guardian: “Terry was at all times particular – the person with the golden voice.

“We’ll keep in mind his prodigious vocals and songwriting abilities, but additionally his distinctive place in a radical, visionary motion for humanity that also resonates right this moment… I’ll miss seeing Terry reside that message on stage. I’ll miss seeing him carry out. I’ll miss him, full cease.”

Speaking to Basic Pop, Dave Wakeling of The Beat, displays: “I used to be taken by Terry proper from the start. After we first began doing exhibits with The Specials, it was intriguing to me how he might act each fully related and completely bored all in the identical second.

“There was one thing actually riveting about his fashion, and I feel that his supply was an enormous a part of 2 Tone. He might be fairly droll and humorous onstage, however offstage was really very quiet.

“I will be fairly sardonic, too, and we had numerous enjoyable slowly deflating the pretentious conditions we regularly discovered ourselves in… he actually didn’t want to make use of very many phrases to do it both.

“I used to be at all times impressed by the issues that he stated in his interviews, it was very easy, and he didn’t essentially give the solutions that individuals anticipated. I’m certain he felt that giant weight of each interview being like a sociology lesson being lifted when he began Enjoyable Boy Three.

“Terry was a really caring man and he at all times needed to know if I used to be doing alright… besides on the soccer pitch! He was an awesome footballer, however I’ll always remember how the mild-mannered man of pop become Norman Hunter and minimize proper by way of me throughout one charity match.”

Closing The Specials’ official assertion, the band stated, “Terry usually left the stage on the finish of The Specials’ life-affirming exhibits with three phrases… Love Love Love.”

Fortunately, that message of peace and unity will resonate eternally by way of all features of Corridor’s music.




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