The Specials formed in Coventry, England, during the late '70s. The group's innovative sound combined elements of 2 Tone and ska music. Known for the group's period style of dress, The Specials also knew how to make catchy music. The band had seven Top 10 singles in the UK over a period of just three years. Today, the band tours extensively, sharing its distinctive sound with a whole new generation.
Style and Substance
The Specials had a unique look, dressing in throwback style. At a time when New Wave was on top, The Specials dressed in loafers, pork pie hats and mohair suits. The band combined vintage sounds from the 2 Tone and ska era with the energy and activism of punk rock. The group's first single, released in 1979, was "Gangsters," which reached No. 6 on the singles charts. The third single, "Too Much Too Young," was the group's first No. 1 hit. The group had an incredible run of seven straight Top 10 singles in the UK. After this initial success, the band had its first lineup change in 1981 when two vocalists and a guitarist left to form the band Fun Boy Three. The Specials carried on with original keyboardist Jerry Dammers until the mid-'80s. The band became known for its political activism, releasing overtly political songs like "Free Nelson Mandela," which reached No. 9 on the UK charts in 1984. In fact, when Dammers dissolved the band, he did so to focus on his political work. The band re-formed in 1993, reuniting original members Lynval Golding, Roddy Radiation, Horace Panter and Neville Staple.
Where can I buy The Specials tickets?
Find tickets to see The Specials with help from StubHub, a marketplace that helps connect people from around the world with tickets to great live events.
Who are the members of The Specials?
The 2019 lineup of The Specials includes lead guitarist Steve Cradock, vocalist Terry Hall, bassist Horace Panter and rhythm guitarist and vocalist Lynval Golding. Other members include Nikolaj Torp Larsen on keyboards.
Where will The Specials tour in 2019?
The Specials recently released its first album of new material in 20 years. The group is touring in support of this release throughout the year. The band will be playing both festival dates and standalone shows. The group is playing the Punk Rock Bowling & Music Festival in Las Vegas, Nev., and The Victorious Festival in Portsmouth, UK. The European swing of the tour will take the band to Cologne, Brussels, Paris and other cities. In the US, The Specials will play venues like the House of Blues in San Diego and Brooklyn Steel in New York.
What can I expect from The Specials in concert?
The Specials tend to use signs with slogans painted on as a backdrop for performances. Some of these slogans are political, and some offer musical advice, exhorting people to listen to classics like Sly and the Family Stone. Typically, a punk-pop act like The Tuts opens for the band. The Specials will tour in support of its new release, but the shows are more of a greatest hits revue. The band plays classics like "Stereotype," "Rat Race," "Gangsters" and "Concrete Jungle."
What are some of the biggest shows The Specials have played?
The Specials have been playing festivals for years. The group is a regular at Riot Fest Chicago and has been to SXSW, Arroyo Seco Weekend, the Vans Warped Tour and Glastonbury. The band has also played at amazing one-time events like the London 2012 Olympic Closing Ceremony.
Which artists are similar to The Specials?
The Specials have a lot in common with other acts from the same generation, like Elvis Costello, The Clash and The English Beat. The group has been an influence on bands like The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Fishbone and No Doubt.Back to Top
Epic events and incredible deals straight to your inbox.