The Specials Release Album, Add to Tour

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The Specials

The band that launched the 2-Tone ska revival in the U.K. in the early ‘80s, The Specials, have released Encore, their first new album in 37 years. On its release date (Feb. 1), the band announced a 2019 North American tour that follows an extensive European tour this spring.

“Vote For Me,” the first new Specials single since the band’s 1981 U.K. #1 “Ghost Town,” was written and produced by founding members Terry Hall, Lynval Golding and Horace Panter, together with long-time collaborator Torp Larsen. It addresses the same social and political issues that were prevalent when the band formed in the late ’70s, says a press release.

2019 marks the 40th anniversary of the formation of the Specials and the 2-Tone label in Coventry, England, in 1979, and also marks 10 years since the band re-formed.

Says the press release, “Spearheading the British ska revival in the late ’70s, the Specials embraced a multi-racial melting-pot that embodied more than just their black-and-white-checked 2-Tone label logos. Hailing from the grim industrial midlands of England, and dressed in pork-pie hats, mohair suits, Ben Sherman shirts and Doc Martens, they hit the U.K. music scene hard. In the U.K. their debut single, ‘Gangsters,’ went to #6 and every subsequent single was a Top 10, including two #1s. In April 1980 they played an electrifying version of ‘Gangsters’ on Saturday Night Live, a performance that’s frequently name checked as one of the show’s most memorable music bookings.”

Related: In 1981, the Specials got in trouble for inciting a riot

Watch them perform “Vote for Me” and an early favorite, “A Message to You Rudy”

In the current turbulent climate, 38 years later, the release states, “Encore picks up almost exactly, in style and in substance, where ‘Ghost Town’ left off, addressing serious issues head on. The album includes a version of ‘The Lunatics Have Taken Over the Asylum,’ originally a hit for Terry and Lynval’s post-Specials band Fun Boy Three in 1982,  as well as a powerful spoken word track, ‘The Ten Commandments’ featuring British anti-racism activist Saffiyah Khan.”

Listen to “Ten Commandments”

Track Listing
Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys
Vote For Me
The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum
Breaking Point
Blam Blam Fever
The Ten Commandments featuring Saffiyah Khan
Embarrassed By You
The Life And Times Of A Man Called Depression
We Sell Hope

Listen to “The Lunatics”

The Specials Tour Dates (Tickets available here and here)
March 29 Cologne, Germany – E-Werk
March 30 Brussels, Belgium – Ancienne Belgique
March 31 Luxembourg, Luxembourg – Den Atelier
April 2 Hamburg, Germany – Grosse Freiheit
April 3 Berlin, Germany – Columbiahall
April 5-6 Amsterdam, Netherlands – Paradiso Grote Zaal
April 8 Paris, France – Paris La Cigale
Apr 11-13 Dublin, Ireland – Olympia Theatre
Apr 15 – Bournemouth, Great Britain – O2 Academy Bournemouth
Apr 16 – Portsmouth, Great Britain – Portsmouth Guildhall
Apr 17 – Brighton, Great Britain – Brighton Dome
Apr 19 – Plymouth, Great Britain – Plymouth Pavilions
Apr 20 – Exeter, Great Britain – The Great Hall, Exeter
Apr 21 – Cardiff, Great Britain – Cardiff University Students Union
Apr 23 – Blackburn, Great Britain – King George’s Hall
Apr 24 – Leicester, Great Britain – De Montfort Hall
Apr 26 – Birmingham, Great Britain – O2 Academy Birmingham
Apr 27 – Liverpool, Great Britain – Liverpool Olympia
Apr 28 – Manchester, Great Britain – Manchester Academy
Apr 30 – Leeds, Great Britain – O2 Academy Leeds
May 01 – Carlisle, Great Britain – Carlisle Sands Centre
May 02 – Glasgow, Great Britain – Barrowland
May 04 – Newcastle Upon Tyne, Great Britain – O2 Academy Newcastle
May 05 – Middlesbrough, Great Britain – Middlesbrough Town Hall
May 06 – Scarborough, Great Britain – Scarborough Spa Grand Hall
May 08 – Scunthorpe, Great Britain – Baths Hall
May 09 – York, Great Britain – York Barbican
May 10 – Sheffield, Great Britain – O2 Academy Sheffield
May 12 – Cambridge, Great Britain – Cambridge Corn Exchange
May 13 – Southend-On-Sea, Great Britain – Southend Cliffs Pavilion
May 14 – Margate, Great Britain – Margate Winter Gardens
May 16 – London, Great Britain – O2 Academy Brixton
May 17 – London, Great Britain – O2 Academy Brixton
May 22 – Vancouver, BC – Commodore Ballroom
May 23 – Seattle, WA – The Showbox
May 24 – Portland, OR – Crystal Ballroom
May 25 – Oakland, CA – Fox Theater
May 27 – Las Vegas, NV – Punk Rock Bowling & Music Featival
May 28 – Anaheim, CA – House of Blues
May 30 – San Diego – House of Blues
May 31 – San Diego – House of Blues
Jun 01 – Los Angeles, CA – The Novo
Jun 03 – Phoenix, AZ – The Van Buren
Jun 05 – Denver, CO – Ogden Theatre
Jun 07 – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
Jun 08 – Chicago, IL – Vic Theatre
Jun 10 – Silver Spring, MD – The Fillmore
Jun 11 – Philadelphia, PA – Theatre of Living Arts
Jun 14 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Steel
Jun 15 – Boston, MA – House of Blues
Jun 17 – Montreal, QB – Corona Theatre
Jun 18 – Toronto, ON – Danforth Music Hall
Jun 19 – Toronto, ON – Danforth Music Hall
Jun 22 – Groningen, The Netherlands – Stadspark Live Festival
Jul 12 – Wert, The Netherlands – Bospop Festival
Jul 20 – Nottingham, UK – Splendour Festival

Watch the Specials perform “A Message to You Rudy” on The Old Grey Whistle Test in 1979

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  1. Damian
    #1 Damian 14 December, 2018, 08:52

    Correction: It isn’t their first album in 37 years. Their last album of original material was “Guilty Til Proved Innocent!” in 1998. Two other studio albums followed since then, but they were made up of covers of old Trojan Records tunes.

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