Specials

The Specials

The Specials, also known as The Special AKA, are an English 2 Tone and ska revival band formed in 1977 in Coventry.[1] Their music combines a “danceable ska and rocksteady beat with punk’s energy and attitude”.[2] Lyrically they present a “more focused and informed political and social stance” than most other ska groups.

The band wore mod-style “1960s period rude boy outfits (pork pie hats, tonic and mohair suits and loafers)”.[3] In 1980, the song “Too Much Too Young”, the lead track on their The Special AKA Live! EP, reached No. 1 in the UK.[4] In 1981, the unemployment-themed single “Ghost Town” also hit No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart.[1]

After seven consecutive UK Top 10 singles between 1979 and 1981, three members of the group abruptly left to form Fun Boy Three.[1]Continuing on as “The Special AKA” (a name they used frequently on earlier Specials releases), a substantially revised Specials line-up issued new material through 1984, including the top 10 UK hit single “Free Nelson Mandela“.Afterwards, founder and songwriter Jerry Dammers dissolved the band and pursued political activism.[5]

The group reformed in 1993, and have continued to perform and record with varying line-ups (but without Dammers).

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