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1977 – present (41 years)
Coventry, West Midlands, England, United Kingdom
The Specials are a British band formed in 1977 in Coventry, UK. Their founder, Jerry Dammers, based on his knowledge of 60's mod and ska cultures, formed the label "Two Tone", releasing a number of seminal singles by seminal bands with the same passion, outlook and style.
The Specials assault on both the charts and popular UK culture began with their debut, "Gangsters", closely followed with a cover of "Rudi (a message to you)", and then a short-lived but brilliant career featuring such highlights as the "Too Much Too Young" live single, "Rat Race" (featuring the stomping B-side, "Rude Boys Out of Jail"), "Do Nothing", "Stereotype" (documenting the lad-about-town thug that every UK town knew, made pleasantries with, but were secretly terrified of) and the bleak, terrifying "Ghost Town", a song eeirly documenting the mass unemployment and disaffection amongst the youth of the UK, and swiftly making its' way to the top of the charts.
"Ghost Town" later made a resurgence into popular culture, after an episode of 'Father Ted', where 'The Spinmaster' Father Billy O'Dwyer, a DJ-yet-gambling-addicted priest, forgot to bring any records to the disco, but later found a copy of "Ghost Town" in the boot of his car. The point where everyone stood for the national, anthem, and "doooooo,do do do do do dooooo…." kicked in, was possibly the only moment when British thugs wished that 'God Save The Queen' wasn't what they had to sing at the start of footy matches! Notably though, The Specials attitudes and methodology urged a multicultural outlook, vocally opposed to the "far-right" tendencies that seemed to linger aroung the "skinhead" faction of their fanbase.
Lead singer Terry Hall later went on to form Fun Boy Three with Lynval Golding and Neville Staples, and The Colourfield.
The Specials later became The Special AKA (a name which they had originally adopted circa their first single, "Gangsters"), and single-handedly raised awareness to the British public to the plight of Nelson Mandela, long before Princess Di or Bono from U2 ever did.
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