Coventry Museum Curator Pete Chambers BEM writes for the Observer.
Ghost Town on top again
Well, it may be 40 years old, and an anthem to the past but probably the most famous song to come out of Coventry -‘Ghost Town’ – has hit the number one spot all over again.
The remastered vinyl 40th anniversary release went to number one in the official vinyl charts last week, right on the single’s 40th birthday.
This Specials song remains relevant, especially in the wake of the pandemic, where the feelings of isolation and social breakdown and all the clubs are being closed down are even more real as they were in 1981.
It’s only right to point out that while ‘Ghost Town’ receives top billing there are two other tracks on that record.
‘Why’ written by Specials guitarist Lynval Golding was a heartfelt plea to the white racists who left him scarred and almost blind in one eye.
Like Ghost Town, the song is just as relevant today, with the Black Lives Matter.
Finally, Terry Hall’s song to the larger drenched townies ‘Friday Night, Saturday Morning’, is an insightful snapshot of Coventry nightlife as it was back then, name checking The Locarno and a nod of the pork pie hat to the Parson’s Nose chip shop ‘Cos’ their pies are really nice’.
All three songs are superbly written, each one perfectly tackling subjects that affect so many people then and now like racism, job loss and alcoholism.
It’s heart-breaking this would be the last record from the original Specials line-up.
Who knows what would have followed?
Last week, Lynval Golding popped into the museum on a special mission (more about that in a future Music Matters), while he was there, he kindly signed a copy of the Ghost Town reissued single (Roddy Byers was in too and has also signed ).
To have a chance of winning it, just email me the answer to this question – In what town was Ghost Town recorded?
Send your answers (with your home address) with the subject ‘GT Comp’ to firstname.lastname@example.org the winner will be picked out at random on June 30.
HMV Empire Coventry
Well speaking of the clubs being closed, the bad news is that the eagerly awaited opening of HMV Empire Coventry has been put back – the great news is it is still happening of course.
Stone Foundation, Candid, The Session and Blues2Go will now play on Friday, July 30.
All original tickets are valid, doors at 6pm and an 11pm finish.
Opening these venues will mean so much to the owners and managers who have had to watch as their livelihoods are slowly whittled away.
It’s so depressing, but I hope they can all hit back at this evil pandemic.
Of course, live entertainment will also mean so much to the public, who have been starved of real artists playing in a real venues for too long.
I, for one, can’t wait to get to this amazing new venture for Coventry.
Once they are open, please support all your local venues and theatres – we all know what we have missed now, so use it or lose it.