Arthur 'Gaps' Hendrickson: The Selecter frontman dies aged 73 as ska band pay tribute to 'absolute gentleman'

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Arthur ‘Gaps’ Hendrickson, who was known to fans as the lead singer of the ska band The Selecter, has died at the age of 73.

Hendrickson’s passing comes after he revealed that he was diagnosed with cancer in 2023. He was part of the current The Selector line-up alongside Charley ‘Aitch’ Bembridge and Pauline Black.

The band confirmed Hendrickson’s death in a post on Instagram saying: “We are devastated to confirm that Selecter frontman Arthur ‘Gaps’ Hendrickson has died after a short illness. The world has lost a 2-Tone original, a talented musician and an absolute gentleman. We have lost our beloved friend and bandmate. RIP Gaps.”

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Hendrickson, a founding member of the band, worked on and off with the band over the years, including up to his death. The Selecter became one of the most successful two-tone ska bands of the era alongside acts such as The Specials and Madness, having several songs chart in the UK Top 40 during the early 80s.

Arthur 'Gaps' Hendrickson, lead singer of ska band The Selecter, has died at the age of 73. (Credit: Getty Images)Arthur 'Gaps' Hendrickson, lead singer of ska band The Selecter, has died at the age of 73. (Credit: Getty Images)
Arthur 'Gaps' Hendrickson, lead singer of ska band The Selecter, has died at the age of 73. (Credit: Getty Images) | Getty Images

The band’s line-up featured a mix of racial background and genders, with Black’s lyrics often reflecting societal issue such as racism and sexism which helped to forge a music scene with a focus on radical politics. The Selecter’s most recent release came in 2023 with their 16th studio album Human Algebra.

Black wrote on her Facebook page that she was “too devastated to say anything coherent at the moment” after her close friend’s death. She added that she was sharing a message from Hendrickson’s family, which read: “He passed away in the early hours of Tuesday 11th June 2024 in Coventry, the city where he came to fame as frontman for the 2-Tone group The Selecter.

“Gappa was actively performing with the group until he was diagnosed with cancer last year. Even then, he fought his way back from ill health to join Jools Holland’s R&B Orchestra as a guest artist for their Autumn/Winter Tour 2023.”

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The family added: “Gaps was known the world over for singing the title track on The Selecter’s debut album Too Much Pressure, he brought a captivating angst and frustration to the track as he described the trials and tribulations of daily life for the working man. He will be sorely missed by all those who knew him. Funeral arrangements will be announced in due course.”

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