Reference Entry

Specials, the

David Buckley

in Oxford Music Online

Published in print January 2001 |
Published online January 2001 | e-ISBN: 9781561592630 | DOI:

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[Special AKA]

English pop group. Formed in Coventry in 1978 as the Special AKA, its original members were Terry Hall (b Coventry, 15 March 1959; lead vocals), Neville Staples (vocals and percussion), Lynvall Goulding (b Coventry, 24 July 1951; electric guitar and vocals), John Bradbury (drums), Jerry Dammers (Gerald Dankin; b India, 22 May 1954; keyboards), Roddy Radiation (Rodney Byers; electric guitar) and Horace Gentleman (Horace Panter; bass guitar). They became the Specials in 1979. In the late 1970s post-punk diaspora, the Specials were pivotal in developing a miscegenation of musical styles, begun by such groups as the Clash and the Slits, in which punk and reggae had effected an alliance.

Along with groups such as the Beat and Selecter, the Specials were signed to Dammers's multi-racial label 2-Tone Records. Their ‘Coventry sound’ was a speeded-up version of late 1960s ska imbued with a punky freneticism, a heavier, less subtle, more insistent rhythm section, and a more declamatory tone to the vocals. The social-realist politics of much of the new wave also made its mark on 2-Tone, and the Specials were an eloquent example of this new spirit of reportage. Their first UK number one, ...

Reference Entry.  358 words. 

Subjects: Popular Music

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