Release date
21 May 2002
Running length
14 tracks
Running time


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    Track     Duration Listeners
1 A Message to You Rudy 2:50 171,203
2 Do the Dog 2:08 79,088
3 It's Up to You 3:39 50,318
4 Nite Klub 3:11 69,658
5 Doesn't Make It Alright 3:35 50,472
6 Concrete Jungle 3:18 72,847
7 Too Hot 2:56 59,551
8 Monkey Man 2:37 84,407
9 (Dawning of A) New Era 2:23 45,989
10 Blank Expression 2:42 72,738
11 Stupid Marriage 4:33 42,727
12 Too Much Too Young 2:07 125,001
13 Little Bitch 2:33 77,926
14 You're Wondering Now 2:24 57,300

About this album

Specials is the debut album by British ska revival band The Specials.

Released in 1979 on Jerry Dammers’ 2Tone label, the album is seen by some as the defining moment in the UK ska scene. Produced by Elvis Costello, the album captures the disaffection and anger felt by the youth of the UK’s “concrete jungle” - a phrase borrowed from Bob Marley’s 1972 album Catch A Fire but equally apposite used here to describe the grim, violent inner cities of 1970s Britain.

Musically, the album encapsulates the wave of British ska, greatly reworking the original sound of 1960s Jamaican ska. The music shares the infectious energy and humour of the original sound, but injects new-found anger and punk sensibility. The resulting sound is considerably less laid-back and “Caribbean” sounding than original ska, and dispensed with much of the percussion and the larger horn sections used in the older variety. The Specials also brought guitar to the front of the mix; it had often been a secondary instrument in Jamaican ska.

The album features a mixture of original material and several covers of classic Jamaican ska tracks, a debt which went uncredited on the 1979 vinyl release. Many songs on The Specials’ debut album were covers of older ska songs. “Monkey Man” had been a hit for Toots & the Maytals in 1969, “Too Hot” was a Prince Buster original from 1966, and the opening track, “A Message to You, Rudy” was a Dandy Livingstone single in 1967. “You’re Wondering Now” was originally performed by The Skatalites; a vocal version was recorded by duo Andy and Joey in 1964.

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  • TCDB

    10 tracks out of 14 loved, it means sth

    8 Apr 2012 Reply
  • CDPETE01

    bought it on vinyl in 79,sold it bought it again circa 90s,now have it on CD,excellent album,keeping it for now.

    7 Jan 2012 Reply
  • Miss-Kei

    I love this album to death. I still play it during the summer season.

    7 Dec 2011 Reply
  • Magictacosinus

    I find it impossible to not love this entire album. And this coming from someone who pretty much hates the genre that is now known as 'ska'.

    11 May 2010 Reply
  • njSKAman

    So how come the back is always listed as the front?

    30 Dec 2009 Reply
  • BlackbeltDude

    best 2 tone album

    20 Dec 2009 Reply
  • dominic_john

    great album!

    14 Aug 2009 Reply
  • drussellsdct

    produced by Elvis Costello. awesome.

    18 May 2009 Reply
  • smichaelgbg

    One of the best debut albums ever =)

    7 Feb 2009 Reply
  • josema75

    sin gabardina tambien puedes,no lo pares....ritmo bailongo!!!yea,yea.....

    4 Feb 2009 Reply
  • profmosca


    28 Jan 2009 Reply
  • privatehell

    Great album, one of my favs

    19 Jan 2009 Reply
  • Shaped

    top album.

    9 Jul 2008 Reply
  • spon-g-bob

    naked woman ...naked man ...where did you get such ...nice sunthan?!! ...gna ...gna!

    20 Jun 2008 Reply
  • spon-g-bob

    great album ...and great cover too ...they look so sharp!

    20 Jun 2008 Reply
  • Zueribueb

    One of the best records ever produced

    27 May 2008 Reply
  • theonionring

    Because Ghost Town wasn't recorded for another two years

    15 May 2008 Reply
  • bAzTNM

    I agree. Why isn't Ghost Town on here? cheers.

    2 May 2008 Reply
  • maxamus16

    i've only listened to this on LP... but this is by far the most overplayed record in my collection... its the best album i've ever heared ever! :D

    26 Mar 2007 Reply
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