One of the defining bands of the late 70s/early 80s along with Jerry Dammers iconic label Two Tone Records, The Specials originally formed in 1977 as The Coventry Automatics, combining Jamaican ska and Rocksteady, mixed with the energy of punk and sparking an entire Ska Revival in the UK, helping bands such as Madness, The Beat and The Selecter to release their first singles.
The Specials released ‘Gangsters’ as their first single in the summer of ’79, quickly releasing the classic singles A Message To You Rudy, Do Nothing and Rat Race. They released their debut album ‘Specials’ in 1979 followed by ‘More Specials’ in 1980. During this time, the band had two UK Number One singles, a live version of ‘Too Much Too Young’ from ‘The Special AKA Live EP’ and the unforgettable ‘Ghost Town’ in the summer of 1981.
Jerry Dammers continued as The Special AKA following the departure of band members in late 1981, releasing their third album ‘In The Studio’ which included the iconic single ‘Nelson Mandela.’
In 2019, Chrysalis released a 20-track compilation collecting all the specials key singles and album tracks, made newly available on heavyweight 180gm vinyl – The Best of the Specials. As well as coveted rarities for record store day including 10” dubs of Gangsters, Too Much Too Young and Why? on 2020’s dubs and Work in Progress versions in 2022.