The Specials, ’80s 2-Tone Band: New Album, 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, has unveiled details of Encore, their first new album in 37 years. The album will be released on Feb. 1. In advance of that, they’ve released the first single taken from the album, “Vote For Me” via Island Records. The band will also launch an extensive European tour in the 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.

Next year 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

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 the new single, “Vote for Me”

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

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 11-13 Dublin, Ireland – Olympia Theatre
April 15 Bournemouth, Great Britain – O2 Academy Bournemouth
April 16 Portsmouth, Great Britain – Portsmouth Guildhall
April 17 Brighton, Great Britain – Brighton Dome
April 19 Plymouth, Great Britain – Plymouth Pavilions
April 20 Exeter, Great Britain – The Great Hall, Exeter
April 21 Cardiff, Great Britain – Cardiff University Students Union
April 23 Blackburn, Great Britain – King George’s Hall
April 24 Leicester, Great Britain – De Montfort Hall
April 26 Birmingham, Great Britain – O2 Academy Birmingham
April 27 Liverpool, Great Britain – Liverpool Olympia
April 28 Manchester, Great Britain – Manchester Academy
April 30 Leeds, Great Britain – O2 Academy Leeds
May 1 Carlisle, Great Britain – Carlisle Sands Centre
May 2 Glasgow, Great Britain – Barrowland
May 4 Newcastle Upon Tyne, Great Britain – O2 Academy Newcastle
May 5 Middlesbrough, Great Britain – Middlesbrough Town Hall
May 6 Scarborough, Great Britain – Scarborough Spa Grand Hall
May 8 Scunthorpe, Great Britain – Baths Hall
May 9 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 16-17 London, Great Britain – O2 Academy Brixton

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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