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Autumn 2005 Tour Dates
- The Story So Far
Jake Burns - JJ Burnel - Bruce Foxton
- Pauline Black - Nick Welsh
Track Listings, MP3s and how to order
2004 Tour Reviews
Photos & Dates
Jake Burns - Dave Wakeling - Pauline Black - Nick Welsh
Debut Tour Photos
Jake Burns - JJ Burnel - Pauline Black - Nick Welsh
'Radiation' Byers- The Specials. The beginnings of what was to become
The Specials as we know them, came about in 1977 under the auspices
of Coventry DJ Pete Waterman with the lads being given the support slot
on the Clash's 'On Parole' tour in June/July 1978. Originally booked
for just the first couple of shows, they got the whole tour thanks to
Joe Strummer's interest in the band.
On their return to Coventry, the band locked down to some serious rehearsals
in the back room of a pub, and started to experiment mixing some ska
elements into their sound.
With a new song written, but no support from the record companies, the
Special AKA set about raising some cash from family and friends to record
'Gangsters' themselves, based on the 1964 track 'Al Capone' by Prince
Short of cash, the band couldn't afford to record a B-side for the single,
so a demo recorded two years earlier by Brad, Barry Jones and Neol Davis
was dug out, billed as The Selecter by The Selecter, and stuck on the
flip side. They called their new label '2 Tone'.
They received several offers, but most weren't willing to accommodate
their demands for the 2 Tone label to maintain it's own identity. One
who did was Chrysalis Records, and the deal was done - 10 singles a
year from 2 Tone, and The Specials were signed to a 5 album deal.
the way, 2 Tone signed it's first band - The Selecter - on the back
of the success of the Gangsters/Selecter single. The second 2 Tone signing
was Madness, after they had opened for The Specials on a couple of occasions
to great success. 'A
Message To You, Rudy' was released in October 1979, backed by 'Nite
Klub' as a double A side,
Later that month, their debut album, entitled simply 'Specials' was
released and shot straight into the UK album charts at number 7. The
Specials, and 2 Tone were really on the map, and a 40 date '2 Tone Tour'
of the country began in earnest featuring The Specials, Madness and
Half way through the tour Madness were replaced by Kevin Roland's 'Dexy
Midnight Runners', a soul band from Birmingham, who although didn't
play ska and weren't signed to 2 Tone, still went down a storm. Next
to sign to 2 Tone were The Beat from. Their debut single, Smokey Robinson's
'Tears of a Clown' was another success for the label, although the beat
subsequently went out on their own forming their own label 'Go Feet'.
In January 1980, along with being filmed for a 2 Tone documentary by
the BBC and a live appearance on the 'Rock Goes To College' show, The
Specials released their third single 'Too Much Too Young'.
The band played a few shows in Europe, and then headed off to take British
ska to the USA.
For some of these shows the band opened for The Police, whipping the
American crowds into a frenzy, often overshadowing the main act by all
accounts. Whilst away, 2 Tone continued to rule the waves in England,
with 'Too Much Too Young' topping the UK singles chart. In
May 1980 'Rat Race' was released as The Specials' 4th single, backed
by 'Rude Buoys Outa Jail' on the B-side, which again raced up the charts
reaching a high point of number 5. The song, written by Roddy, was a
straight dig at students, but they strangely had no trouble in recruiting
a few to be in the classroom video for the song! Soon
after, some of the band members took the opportunity to pursue their
own projects. Roddy formed the Tearjerkers, a band playing 'skabilly'
- his mix of ska and rockabilly.
The band regrouped back in Coventry, and in June 1981 released another
EP single, fronted by the seminal track 'Ghost Town', with 'Why?' and
'Friday Night, Saturday Morning' on the B-side. 'Ghost Town' perfectly
echoed the feelings in Britain at the time, and reached the number one
spot in the charts to a backdrop of inner city riots in Liverpool.
Despite the success of 'Ghost Town', the band members were increasingly
at each others throats. In the time since the Specials split in 1981,
Roddy had been gigging hard with 'The Tearjerkers', 'The Bonediggers'
and then 'The Raiders', delivering his own brand of honest ska-billy
Back in the UK, a project from Trojan Records with Desmond Dekker was
to re-unite Lynval, Neville, Horace and Roddy, which resulted in the
1993 release of 'King of Kings'. The
foursome went on to re-launch The Specials in 1994, teaming up with
ex-Selecter drummer Aitch Bembridge, Keyboard player Mark Adams and
Trombonist Adam Birch. They released 'Today's Specials' to a mixed reception
in 1996, but continued to tour widely in the US, Japan and Europe. In
true Specials tradition the live shows were an electric experience,
and a new generation of ska fans were loving it. Roddy's
latest project is the. 'Skabilly Rebel - The Roddy Radiation Anthology'-
featuring THE TEARJERKERS, THE BONEDIGGERS and THE RAIDERS performing
the original versions of songs later recorded by The Specials.
Wakeling - The Beat. The (English) Beat entered the music scene
in 1979. The six member band consisted of Dave Wakeling (vocals &
guitar), David Steele (bass), Andy Cox (guitar), Everett Morton (drums),
Saxa (saxophone) and Ranking Roger (vocals). The band managed to fuse
all of their respective musical influences - soul, reggae, pop and punk
- into a unique sound that was highly danceable. Along with contemporaries
such as The Specials, The Selecter and Madness, The Beat became one
of the most popular and influential bands of the British Ska movement.
Over the course of the three albums, The Beat acheived great success
in their home country, charting several singles into the top 10 (including
Mirror in The Bathroom, Tears of a Clown, Stand Down Margaret). Although
the band was never able to duplicate their UK chart success in America,
they did find a solid base of young fans eager to dance to the band's
hypnotic rhythms. Their constant touring with bands such as The Clash
and The Police helped to boost their popularity. In 1983, after the
release of their third album, "Special Beat Service", the
band broke up due to artistic differences.
It was at that point that Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger recuited Stoker
(drums) and Mickey Billingham (keyboards) of Dexy's Midnight Runners
and Horace Panter (bass) of The Specials and formed General Public.
Their first album "...All The Rage" included a guest appearance
by former Clash guitarist Mick Jones. After the fantastic success of
"...All The Rage", the band spent two years writing and recording
their follow-up. Although "Hand to Mouth" did not fare as
well as the first album, it did spawn two singles, "Too Much or
Nothing" and "Come Again".
Black - The Selecter. The front 'woman in the mighty ska - 2 tone
giants Selector, since its formation in 1979 when the band spearheaded
the Two Tone movement alongside The Specials releasing the singles The
Selecter, Three Minute Hero, The Whisper, Missing Words and On My Radio
& two albums Too Much Pressure & Celebrate The Bullet. The Selecter
were also featured in the cult film Dance Craze. The band split in 1982,
Pauline carved out a career in TV and theatre appearing in dramas like
The Vice, The Bill, Hearts and Minds and 2000 Acres of Sky. She won
the 1991 Time Out award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Billie
Holiday in the play All or Nothing At All and starred next to Christopher
Lee in the schlock horror film The Funny Man. She reformed The Selecter
in 1991 and has released several new albums and has toured all over
Welsh - The Selecter & Bad Manners. Nick probably best known
for being the bassist in The Selecter and formerly Bad Manners but he
has worked with some of the biggest names in Ska and Reggae, Prince
Buster, Laurel Aitken, Rico Rodriguez, Dave Barker & most recently
Lee "Scratch" Perry with whom he received a Grammy Award Certificate
for his work on the CD Jamaican ET which won The Best Reggae Category
in 2002. Nick also writes music for TV which has been used world-wide
on shows as diverse as WWE (world wrestling entertainment), The Osbournes
and even adverts for Ariel soap powder!
CDs by The Stranglers, SLF, The Selecter, The Jam, The Alarm, The Beat, The Specials
& All our other artists are now available in our new A-Store
on an Artist below for track listings