22nd May, 2019

MUSIC MATTERS: The Specials: 'Number one LP is for Brad'

Play Encore

Coventry music history is made and The Specials’ new album Encore has hit the top spot, making this the first Specials album to reach the top.

Their first album The Specials went to number four in 1979, and their second More Specials made number five in 1980.

Up to last week, the only local artists ever to reach number one with an LP was The Enemy with We’ll Live and Die In These Towns. I love it when we can add to our chart archive, we need a single off the album to hit the top ten now too.

I asked Specials guitarist and vocalist Lynval Golding how he felt about getting to number one.

He replied: “We are so proud to have produced a great album, the world is divided and here is our album that we feel addresses this.

“Some of my last words I ever spoke to our late drummer Brad as we worked on song ideas, was we are going to have a number one. Well here it is, this is for Brad.”

Last week, The Specials Cathedral Ruins gigs were announced (completely selling out the initial two concerts, with two other dates added on top). The Coventry Music Museum had the honour of being an official ticket outlet and I want to thank our team for their professionalism and making everything run smoothly. Thanks also to our wonderfully polite customers.

For me it’s all about the music. The fact is Lynval Golding, Jerry Dammers, Neville Staple, Horace Panter, Roddy Byers, Terry Hall and John Bradbury have all contributed to The Specials as a brand and they arrive at this point because of all these amazing musicians. People come and go and the shape of the band changes with time (like it does with all bands), but this legacy is a powerful one, so many people visit Coventry because of 2-Tone.

Coventry is known for The Specials and The Selecter – 2-Tone even figures in the city’s official history and in the City Of Culture bid too. Think about how much these people have done for the city, how famous 2-Tone is because of Coventry and how famous Coventry is because of 2-Tone, it goes beyond music and into very fabric of our civic identity.

It would be wonderful and fitting in this special year of the celebration of 40 years of 2-Tone if there could be a civic award to these amazing people, every single one of them. While we are on the subject, how about a Specials Street, a Selecter Street and a 2-Tone Street?

Sounding Off

This Saturday (February 16), we continue celebrating 40 years of 2-Tone with our Sounding Off guest Paul Heskett, the man who created that eerie flute sound on the Ghost Town single and was once a fully paid up member of the Coventry band The Swinging Cats.

I will be interviewing Paul at the museum from 12noon, and it’s your chance to get a question in too. On the evening of 16th, Feb Knights at The 2-Tone Village present the amazing Scottish band The Skaledonia live on stage, doors at 4pm, tickets £7 available from the Village and online at weegottickets.

Pete Chambers BEM

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