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"That was The Specials 'Gangsters'. The record of it - one of those records that really changes your life, I mean it actually does, rather like I suppose The Damned's first single, where you wake up the next day and nothing's ever really quite the same again." (John Peel, 09 June 1980)
The Specials - Gangsters-002:55

The Specials - Gangsters-0


The Specials - Ghost Town03:39

The Specials - Ghost Town

Ghost Town

Originally known as the Coventry Automatics, the Specials were the ska outfit from the Midlands who led the 2 Tone explosion that hit the UK for a couple of years from 1979, providing a launch pad for bands including Madness, Selecter, The Beat and Bodysnatchers, as well as others not on the label itself such as UB40 and Dexy's Midnight Runners.

The original Specials split in 1981 in the wake of the UK #1 hit 'Ghost Town' with the departure of the three main vocalists to form the Funboy Three. Led by keyboard player Jerry Dammers, the others continued for a while with different singers under the earlier name Special AKA, which had been used on their landmark debut single 'Gangsters' and again shortly afterwards on their 'Too Much Too Young' live EP. The new grouping recorded a session and scored a 1983 Festive Fifty entry with 'Nelson Mandela'.

Links to Peel Edit

  • (no more than two paragraphs, please)

After complaining on 17 September 1979 that the band were top of his list of bands that he really wanted to see (along with Madness), Peel saw the band with the Selecter and Madness when the 2 Tone package tour played at Norwich UEA on 26 October 1979. [1]

Festive Fifty Entries Edit

Sessions Edit

1. Gangsters / Too Much Too Young / Concrete Jungle / Monkey Man

Session released by Strange Fruit as a Peel Session EP (SFPS018).

2. Rude Boys Out Of Jail / Rat Race / Long Shot Kick - Liquidator - Moon Stomp (The Skinhead Symphony In Three Movements)

3. Sea Cruise / Stereotypes / Raquel

(as Special AKA)

4. Alcohol / Lonely Crowd / Bright Lights

(Please correct mistakes and add any missing info)

Other Shows Played Edit

  • 20 February 1984: Free Nelson Mandela (7") Two-Tone CHS TT 26 (as Special AKA)
  • 05 June 1984: What I Like Most About You (as Special AKA)
  • 19 June 1984: The Lonely Crowd (album - In The Studio) 2-Tone (as Special AKA)
  • 30 August 1984: What I Like Most About You Is Your Girlfriend (7" single) Chrysalis (as Special AKA)
  • 20 September 1984: What I Like Most About You Is Your Girlfriend (7" single) Chrysalis (as Special AKA)
  • 13 June 1988: Free Nelson Mandela (The Whole World Is Watching Dance Mix) (12") Tone  

(Please add any missing info)

External Links Edit

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