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THE SPECIALS, also known as THE SPECIAL AKA, are an English 2 Tone and ska revival band formed in 1977 in Coventry . Their music combines a "danceable ska and rocksteady beat with punk's energy and attitude". 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)". In 1980, the song "Too Much Too Young", the lead track on their _ The Special AKA Live! _ EP , reached No. 1 in the UK. In 1981, the unemployment-themed single "Ghost Town " also hit No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart .

After seven consecutive UK Top 10 singles between 1979 and 1981, three members of the group abruptly left to form Fun Boy Three . 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.

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

CONTENTS

* 1 Career

* 1.1 Founding and early years (1977–78) * 1.2 Ascendancy of the Specials (1979–81) * 1.3 Band split, rebirth as the Special AKA (1982–84)

* 2 Later developments * 3 Reunions * 4 Members * 5 Discography * 6 References * 7 Further reading * 8 External links

CAREER

FOUNDING AND EARLY YEARS (1977–78)

The group was formed in 1977 by songwriter/keyboardist Dammers, vocalist Tim Strickland, guitarist/vocalist Lynval Golding , drummer Silverton Hutchinson and bassist Horace Panter (a.k.a. Sir Horace Gentleman). Strickland was replaced by Terry Hall shortly after the band's formation. The band was first called the Automatics, then the Coventry Automatics. Vocalist Neville Staple and guitarist Roddy Byers (a.k.a. Roddy Radiation ) joined the band the following year, and the band changed its name to the Special AKA. Joe Strummer of the Clash had attended one of their concerts, and invited the Special AKA to open for his band in their "On Parole" UK tour. This performance gave the Special AKA a new level of national exposure, and they briefly shared the Clash's management.

The Specials began at the same time as Rock Against Racism , which first organised in 1978. According to Dammers, anti-racism was intrinsic to the formation of the Specials, in that the band was formed with the goal of integrating black and white people. Many years later Dammers stated, "Music gets political when there are new ideas in music, ...punk was innovative, so was ska, and that was why bands such as the Specials and the Clash could be political".

ASCENDANCY OF THE SPECIALS (1979–81)

In 1979, shortly after drummer Hutchinson left the band to be replaced by John Bradbury , Dammers formed the 2 Tone Records label and released the band's debut single "Gangsters ", a reworking of Prince Buster 's "Al Capone ". The record became a Top 10 hit that summer. The band had begun wearing mod/rude boy/skinhead -style two-tone tonic suits, along with other elements of late 1960s teen fashions. Changing their name to the Specials, they recorded their eponymous debut album in 1979, produced by Elvis Costello . Horn players Dick Cuthell and Rico Rodriguez were featured on the album, but would not be official members of the Specials until their second album.

_The Specials_ led off with Dandy Livingstone 's "Rudy, A Message to You " (slightly altering the title to "A Message to You, Rudy") and also had covers of Prince Buster and Toots Rhoda Dakar (then of the Bodysnatchers and later of the Special AKA); and Belinda Carlisle , Jane Wiedlin and Charlotte Caffey of the Go-Go\'s . In the first few months of 1981, the band took a break from recording and touring, and then released "Ghost Town", a non-album Specials single, which hit No. 1 in 1981. However, shortly afterwards, Golding, Hall and Staple left the band to form Fun Boy Three.

BAND SPLIT, REBIRTH AS THE SPECIAL AKA (1982–84)

For the next few years, the group was in a seemingly constant state of flux. Adding Dakar to the permanent line-up, the group recorded "The Boiler " with Dakar on vocals, Dammers on keyboard, Bradbury on drums, John Shipley from the Swinging Cats on guitar, Cuthell on brass and Nicky Summers on bass. The single was credited to "Rhoda with the Special AKA". The controversial track described an incident of date rape , and its frank and harrowing depiction of the matter meant that airplay was severely limited. Nevertheless, it managed to reach No. 35 on the UK charts, and American writer Dave Marsh later identified "The Boiler" as one of the 1,001 best "rock and soul" singles of all time in his book _The Heart of Rock as did saxophonist Nigel Reeve, and Claudia Fontaine and Caron Wheeler of the vocal trio Afrodiziak . Both critically and commercially, _In The Studio_ was less successful than previous efforts, although the 1984 single "Free Nelson Mandela" was a No. 9 UK hit. The latter contributed to making Mandela 's imprisonment a cause célèbre in the UK, and became popular with anti-apartheid activists in South Africa. Dammers then dissolved the band and pursued political activism.

LATER DEVELOPMENTS

Since the break-up of the original line-up, various members of the band performed in other bands and have reformed several times to tour and record in Specials-related projects. However, there has never been a complete reunion of the original line-up.

Upon their departure from the Specials, Golding, Hall and Staple founded the pop band Fun Boy Three and enjoyed commercial success from 1981 to 1983 with hits such as "Tunnel of Love ", "It Ain\'t What You Do (It\'s the Way That You Do It) ", " Our Lips Are Sealed " and "The Lunatics (Have Taken Over the Asylum)". The group ended with Hall's sudden departure, leading to a 15-year rift with Staple.

After Fun Boy Three, Staple and Golding joined Pauline Black of the Selecter in the short-lived band Sunday Best, releasing the single "Pirates on the Airwaves".

In 1990, Bradbury, Golding, Panter and Staple teamed up with members of the Beat to form Special Beat, performing the music of the two bands and other ska and Two Tone classics. The group, undergoing many line-up changes, toured and released several live recordings through the 1990s.

A 1994 single credited to "X Specials" featured Neville, Lynval, Roddy, and Horace. A cover of the Slade song "Coz I Love You", the project was produced by Slade's Jim Lea .

Moving into production and management, Staple "discovered" and produced bhangra pop fusion artist Johnny Zee. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Staple would stay active producing and guesting with a variety of artists, including International Beat, Special Beat, Unwritten Law , Desorden Publico , the Planet Smashers and others, as well as leading his own bands and starting the Rude Wear clothing line. He sang with the 1990s Specials line-up, and again from 2009 to 2012.

Panter went on to join with members of the Beat and Dexys Midnight Runners to form General Public , and then Special Beat. He joined the 1990s Specials before training as a primary school teacher at the University of Central England in Birmingham. He continued to play with latter-day Special Neol Davies in the blues outfit Box of Blues. However, he rejoined the band for their 2009 reunion and continues as a member.

Golding teamed up with Dammers for a brief spell of club DJing, and then worked with Coventry band After Tonight. After Special Beat, he went on to lead the Seattle -based ska groups Stiff Upper Lip, and more recently, Pama International , as well as many collaborations with other ska bands. He has also toured with the Beat. He joined the 1990s Specials line-up, but left in 2000. He rejoined in 2009 and continues with the group.

Radiation fronted and worked with numerous artists including the Tearjerkers (a band that he had begun in the last months of the Specials), the Bonediggers, the Raiders and Three Men "> The Specials performing at Brixton Academy , London, May 2009 as part of their 30th anniversary tour.

On 30 March 2008, Hall stated that the Specials would be reforming for tour dates in autumn 2008, and possibly for some recording. This was officially confirmed on 7 April 2008. On 6 September 2008, six members of the band performed on the main stage at the Bestival , billed as the "Surprise Act". By December 2008, the band had announced 2009 tour dates to celebrate their 30th anniversary, although founder member Dammers was not joining the band on the tour.

Hall was quoted as saying, "The door remains open to him". However, Dammers described the new reunion as a "takeover" and claimed he had been forced out of the band. Around that same time, longtime Specials fan Amy Winehouse joined Dammers onstage at Hyde Park , singing the song he wrote for the Specials, "Free Nelson Mandela", for Mandela's 90th birthday concert, dubbed 46664 after Mandela's prison number, and also the name of his AIDS charity, which received money raised by the birthday bash.

On 10 April 2009, the Specials guested on the BBC Two 's _Later... with Jools Holland _. The following month, Bradbury and Golding expressed their intentions to release further original Specials material at a later date. On 8 June 2009, it was announced that the Specials would embark on a second leg of their 30th anniversary tour, taking in the locations and venues that they missed earlier in the year. In July and August 2009, the Specials toured Australia and Japan . In October the band picked up the Inspiration Award at the Q Awards . In 2010, they performed at the Dutch festival Lowlands.

In an interview at the Green Room in Manchester in November 2010, Hall confirmed that there would be further Specials dates in the autumn of 2011, and confessed to having enjoyed playing live again: "It's a celebration of something that happened in your life that was important, and we're going to do that again next year, but then maybe that'll be it". In late 2010, the band re-released "A Message to You, Rudy" as a Haiti Special Fund available to download from iTunes in both the UK and the US, with proceeds going to aid the UNICEF effort to help children in earthquake-stricken Haiti .

In February 2012, it was announced that the Specials would perform at Hyde Park with Blur and New Order to celebrate the 2012 Summer Olympics closing ceremony . Panter said that the band were excited to be involved in such a momentous event: "We have been keeping it under our pork pie hats for a month or so now. I think it is going to be the only chance people get to see the Specials performing in the UK this year." The Specials' performance was said to have remained synonymous with Britain's political and social upheaval of the late 1970s and early 1980s. The Specials performing at Métropolis , Montreal , 7 July 2013.

In August 2012, the Specials released a new live album, _More... Or Less. – The Specials Live_, featuring "the best of the best" performances from their 2011 European tour, selected by the band themselves on a double-disc CD and double-vinyl LP.

In January 2013, the Specials announced the departure of Staple with the following message on their website: "We are very sad Neville cannot join us on the Specials' UK tour in May 2013 or indeed on the future projects we have planned. He has made a huge contribution to the fantastic time and reception we have received since we started and reformed in 2009. However, he missed a number of key shows last year due to ill health, and his health is obviously much more important. We wish him the very best for the future".

The Specials completed a North American tour in 2013, performing to sold-out crowds in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland and Vancouver.

In February 2014, it was revealed that Radiation had left the reformed group. In spite of his departure, the Specials played an extensive tour in the autumn of 2014 with Steve Cradock (Ocean Colour Scene , Paul Weller ) as lead guitarist.

Bradbury died on 28 December 2015.

On 22 March 2016, the Specials announced that Libertines drummer Gary Powell would be performing on their upcoming tours.

MEMBERS

Current members

* Lynval Golding – rhythm guitar, vocals (1977–81, 1993, 1996–2001, 2008–present) * Horace Panter – bass guitar (1977–81, 1982, 1993, 1996–2001, 2008–present) * Terry Hall – vocals and songwriting (1977–81, 2008–present) * Tim Smart – trombone (2008–present) * Drew Stansall – saxophone, flute (2008–present) * Nikolaj Torp Larsen – keyboards (2008–present) * Steve Cradock - lead guitar (2014–present) * Pablo Mandleson - trumpet (2014–present) * Gary Powell – drums (2016–present)

Former members

* Jerry Dammers – keyboards, principal songwriter (1977–84) * Silverton Hutchinson – drums (1977–79) * Tim Strickland – vocals (1977) * Roddy Radiation – lead guitar, vocals (1978–81, 1993, 1996–2001, 2008–14) * Neville Staple – toasting, vocals, percussion (1978–81, 1993, 1996–2001, 2008–12) * John Bradbury – drums (1979–84, 2008–15; his death) * Dick Cuthell – flugel horn (1979–84) * Rico Rodriguez – trombone (1979–81, 1982; died 2015) * Rhoda Dakar – vocals (1981–82, 1982–84) * John Shipley – guitar (1981–84) * Satch Dickson – percussion (1982) * Groco – percussion (1982) * Anthony Wymshurst – guitar (1982) * Stan Campbell – vocals (1982–84) * Edgio Newton – vocals, percussion (1982–83) * Nick Parker – vocals (1982) * Gary McManus – bass guitar (1983–84) * Jon Read – trumpet, percussion, bass (1996–2001, 2008–14) * Adam Birch – trumpet (1996–2001, 2008) * Mark Adams – keyboards (1996–2001) * Aitch Bembridge – drums (1996–2001)

Timeline

DISCOGRAPHY

Main article: The Specials discography

* _ The Specials _ (1979) * _ More Specials _ (1980) * _ In the Studio _ (1984) * _Today\'s Specials _ (1996) * _Guilty \'til Proved Innocent! _ (1998) * _ Skinhead Girl _ (2000) * _ Conquering Ruler _ (2001)

REFERENCES

* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ _G_ Roberts, David (2006). _British Hit Singles & Albums_ (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 519. ISBN 1-904994-10-5 . * ^ Chris Woodstra. "The Specials". _AllMusic_. * ^ Woodstra, Chris. "Allmusic.com". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 29 April 2010. * ^ Rice, Jo (1982). _The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits_ (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 201. ISBN 0-85112-250-7 . * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Strong, Martin C. (2000). _The Great Rock Discography_ (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. pp. 914–915. ISBN 1-84195-017-3 . * ^ The Specials.com Archived 27 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine . * ^ Sarfraz Manzoor The year rock found the power to unite _The Guardian_ (London), 20 April 2008. Retrieved 12 March 2009. * ^ _A_ _B_ Roberts, David (1998). _Guinness Rockopedia_ (1st ed.). London: Guinness Publishing Ltd. p. 409. ISBN 0-85112-072-5 . * ^ "Dave Haslam, Author and DJ – official site". Davehaslam.com. Retrieved 19 July 2011. * ^ Neville Staple with Tony McMahon, _Original Rude Boy: From Borstal to the Specials_, Chapter 9: "Bhangra House". * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Neville Staple with Tony McMahon, _Original Rude Boy: From Borstal to the Specials_; Chapter 10: "The Third Wave – America Revives Ska". * ^ "Jerry Dammers\' Spatial A.K.A. Orchestra". * ^ Original Rude Boy: From Borstal to the Specials by Neville Staple with Tony McMahon; Chapter 4: The Specials – The Rude Boys Arrive * ^ _A_ _B_ Paul Williams, _You're Wondering Now – The Specials from Conception to Reunion_; Part Two: " More Specials – Roddy Radiation". * ^ name="The Great Rock Discography"/_Today\'s Specials _ * ^ You're Wondering Now – The Specials from Conception to Reunion, by Paul Willams; Part Two: More Specials – Horace Panter * ^ " The Specials reunion all down to Lily Allen". _Coventry Telegraph_. 15 May 2009. Retrieved 29 April 2010. * ^ "6 Music – The Specials reunion". BBC. Retrieved 29 April 2010. * ^ "BBC.co.uk: \'\' Ska band confirms reunion plans\'\'". BBC News. 7 April 2008. Retrieved 29 April 2010. * ^ "\'\' The Specials reunite for 2009 tour\'\'". Nme.com. Retrieved 29 April 2010. * ^ "\'\' Jerry Dammers Damns Specials Reunion \'\'". Thequietus.com. Retrieved 29 April 2010. * ^ "\'\'London rocks for Nelson Mandela \'\'". FoxNews.com. Retrieved 28 June 2008. * ^ "\'\'London rocks for Nelson Mandela \'\'". CNN.com. Retrieved 28 June 2008. * ^ "\'\'Muso\'s Guide Interview with the Specials\'\'". Mymusos.com. 13 May 2009. Retrieved 29 April 2010. * ^ "\'\' The Specials confirm more 2009 UK dates\'\'". Thespecials.com. 8 June 2009. Retrieved 29 April 2010. * ^ "\'\' The Specials pick up Q Inspiration Award 2009\'\'". Thespecials.com. 26 October 2009. Retrieved 29 April 2010. * ^ "The Specials". Archived from the original on 22 August 2008. Retrieved 21 August 2010. * ^ "Dave Haslam, Author and DJ – official site". Davehaslam.com. Retrieved 19 July 2011. * ^ " Haiti Special The Specials Re-release \'Message To You Rudy\' To Raise Money for Haitian Earthquake Relief". _Marco on Bass_. MarcoOnBass. 12 May 2010. Retrieved 23 May 2010. * ^ "London 2012: Blur to headline Olympics closing show". _BBC News_. BBC. 21 February 2012. Retrieved 21 February 2012. * ^ " The Specials join Blur for London 2012 Olympics closing ceremony". _Birmingham Post_. Retrieved 21 February 2012. * ^ " The Specials join Blur for London 2012 Olympics closing ceremony". _Rolling Stone_. Retrieved 13 August 2012. * ^ "\'More…Or Less. The Specials Live\': Live compilation of the legendary band\'s 2011 tour. Release date: 6th August, 2012". thespecials. Retrieved 13 August 2012. * ^ " The Specials begin rolling out dates for first leg of North American". slicingupeyeballs.com. Retrieved 29 January 2013. * ^ "Specials lead guitarist Roddy \'Radiation\' Byers leaves the band". Coventry Telegraph. Retrieved 24 October 2014. * ^ " Steve Cradock joins The Specials for November UK tour". Louder than War. Retrieved 24 October 2014. * ^ "John Bradbury, Drummer for the Specials, Dies at 62". _The New York Times_. 2 January 2016. * ^ "New Touring Line Up".

* " The Specials at the Rico", BBC Coventry & Warwickshire, 15 May 2009.

FURTHER READING

* Williams, Paul (1995) _You're Wondering Now – A History of the Specials_, ST Publishing. ISBN 1-898927-25-1 * Panter, Horace (2007) _Ska'd for Life – A Personal Journey with the "Specials"_, Sidgwick ">

* v * t * e

The Specials

* LYNVAL GOLDING * HORACE PANTER * TERRY HALL * TIM SMART * DREW STANSALL * NIKOLAJ TORP LARSEN * STEVE CRADOCK * PABLO MANDLESON

* Jerry Dammers * Silverton Hutchinson * Tim Strickland * Roddy Radiation * Neville Staple * John Bradbury * Dick Cuthell * Rico Rodriguez * Rhoda Dakar * John Shipley * Satch Dickson * Groco * Anthony Wymshurst * Stan Campbell * Edgio Newton * Nick Parker * Gary McManus * Jon Read * Adam Birch * Mark Adams * Aitch Bembridge

STUDIO ALBUMS

* _ The Specials _ * _ More Specials _ * _ In the Studio _ * _Today\'s Specials _ * _Guilty \'til Proved Innocent! _ * _ Skinhead Girl _ * _ Conquering Ruler _

LIVE ALBUMS

* _ Blue Plate Specials Live _ * _ Ghost Town Live _

EXTENDED PLAYS

* _Too Much Too Young _

SINGLES

* "Gangsters " * " A Message to You, Rudy " * "Too Much, Too Young " * "Rat Race " * "StereoType " * "Do Nothing " * "Ghost Town "

RELATED Discography

AUTHORITY CONTROL

* WorldCat Identities * VIAF : 130518843 * LCCN : n92120147 * ISNI : 0000 0001 2285 9471 * GND : 5047734-1 * BNF : cb13906650s (data) * MusicBrainz : 07eb40a2-2914-439c-a01d-15a685b84ddf * BNE : XX138875

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