The Selecter frontman Gaps Hendrickson dies

Arthur ‘Gaps’ Hendrickson
Arthur "Gaps" Hendrickson died after a short illness, a spokesperson for The Selecter announced [BBC]

Arthur "Gaps" Hendrickson, frontman of 2-Tone band The Selecter, has died aged 73.

In a post on X, a spokesperson for the Coventry band announced the vocalist, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2023, had died after a short illness.

"The world has lost a 2-Tone original, a talented musician and an absolute gentlemen," the post said.

The Selecter, which also featured lead singer Pauline Black OBE and drummer Charley "Aitch" Bembridge, was formed in 1979.

The Selecter perform live
The Selecter was formed in the city of Coventry in 1979 [BBC]

The band's debut album Too Much Pressure was released a year later before they went on to release five top 40 singles in the UK, with their latest album Human Algebra released last year.

Hendrickson had worked with the band on-and-off over the years and management company DMF Music confirmed he had died aged 73.

Black posted on her Facebook page to say she was "too devastated to say anything coherent at the moment" but shared a message from Hendrickson's family.

In it, they said their "dearly beloved Gappa" died during the early hours in Coventry, the city "where he came to fame".

With the hit Too Much Pressure, he bought a captivating angst and frustration as he described the trials and tribulations of the working man, they added.

"Gappa was actively performing with the group until he was diagnosed with cancer last year", their statement said.

"Even then, he fought his way back from ill health to join Jools Holland's Rhythm and Blues Orchestra as a guest artist for their autumn/winter tour 2023.

"He will be sorely missed by all those who knew him."

The family said funeral arrangements would be made in due course.

On the band's post, Holland wrote: "Sending all love and condolences. Truly dear man."

Arthur ‘Gaps’ Hendrickson
Tributes flooded in after the death of "wonderful" and "talented" Hendrickson [BBC]

Coventry's music scene sprang up in the 1970s with bands such as The Selecter and The Specials playing a central part in its growth.

The Selecter featured a mix of racial backgrounds and genders with Black's lyrics addressing social issues including racism and sexism.

Alongside acts such as Madness and The Beat, they helped forge a music scene that encompassed ska, 2-tone and punk genres, with a focus on radical politics.

'A Gaps-shaped hole'

Pete Chambers, founder of Coventry Music Museum, described Hendrickson's death as a "huge loss for music" and for the city.

"I really couldn't believe it, totally unexpected," he told the BBC.

"Just absolutely shocked.

"He always was wonderful, there forever will be a Gaps-shaped hole in our lives."

Mr Chambers' museum, which opened 10 years ago, featured exhibits from a variety of local music artists over several decades.

"To me, The Selecter were very much the 2-Tone band," he said.

"And right by [Pauline Black's] side - always was Gaps."

The Selecter
Gaps performed with the band until he was diagnosed with cancer [BBC]

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