The Specials

Ska face

Nationality: UK

Genre: Two tone, ska


When it comes to the two-tone ska movement that enjoyed its peak in the eighties, two bands enjoyed more success than almost anybody else. One was The Specials and the other was The Special AKA. Both were from Coventry and both were basically the same band.

And what a repertoire of songs they came up with. There was Too Much Too Young, about teenage pregnancy (ain’t you heard of contraception?), there was Ghost Town (all the clubs have been closed down), there was Gangsters (they use the law to commit crime), there was the anthem against pretentious students, Rat Race (wear your political T-shirt and sacred college scarf), Stereotypes (he blamed his fiancée when he caught VD), Hey Little Rich Girl (mum bought you a fur coat when you were fifteen, you wore it to the disco, but everyone was in jeans) … this was a band that told it straight (not so much A Message to You Rudy, which was actually a Dandy Livingstone cover) and told it by means of an infectious inner-city sound that made them the heroes of the working class.

From 1994 to the present there have been a series of Specials reformations, and more material than the mere three albums that they released in their heyday, but with key members Terry Hall, Jerry Dammers and John Bradbury not involved, it was questionable how ‘authentic’ it all was. But since 2009, and especially with vocalist and songwriter Terry Hall back on board, that question no longer needs to be asked. Although it has been said the door is open to founder member Dammers as well, the drummer himself claims otherwise, and feels he has been ousted from the newer tours.

The 30th anniversary tour was originally just a one-off, but Hall explained that it was so much fun that “we’re going to do that again next year, but then maybe that’ll be it.” It wasn’t because its 2012 now, and they have plenty of dates lined up, and are even appearing at the London Olympics closing party – and also at Cruïlla in Barcelona, and considering how well Madness went down at the same event last year, they can expect a very warm reception indeed.


Friday July 6 and Saturday July 7, 2012 Barcelona Festival Cruïlla


1.  Gangsters

2.  Do the Dog

3.  (Dawning Of A) New Era

4.  It’s Up to You

5.  Monkey Man

6.  Blank Expression

7.  Rat Race

8.  Too Hot

9.  Doesn’t Make It Alright

10.  Hey Little Rich Girl

11.  Pearl’s Cafe

12.  Stupid Marriage

13.  Concrete Jungle

14.  International Jet Set

15.  Friday Night, Saturday Morning

16.  Stereotype

17.  Man At C&A

18.  Do Nothing

19.  A Message to You Rudy

20.  Nite Klub

21.  Too Much Too Young

22.  Enjoy Yourself (It’s Later Than You Think)

Encore:  23.  Ghost Town

24.  Guns Of Navarone

25.  Little Bitch

26.  You’re Wondering Now


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