THE SPECIALS Cover 12 (Non Ska) Protest Songs

3 October 2021

Band: THE SPECIALS (Coventry, UK)
Who: Legendary ska squad
Active: 1977–1981, 1982-1984, 1993, 1996–2001, 2008–present
9 studio albums (this one included)

New album: PROTEST SONGS 1924-2012
A selection of past protests songs written by big names such
as Bob Marley, Frank Zappa, Leonard Cohen and more.
Released: 1 October 2021 – order info here

NME says: “In their early days, The Specials were protest song incarnate. Their very multicultural make-up was a confrontational statement to audiences infested with
National Front thugs. Since their self-titled 1979 debut album, tracks tackling racism,
war, unemployment and national decay helped make them one of the most vital and
socially progressive bands of their age. Their 2019 reunion album ‘Encore’ pulled few
punches too: Black Lives Matter, Windrush, racial integration and gang violence all
came in for The Specials’ uniquely incisive treatment… this is an album of thoughtful
and considered dissent rather than the righteous rage of old. The Specials, perhaps,
have realised sooner than most that all this shouting is getting us nowhere.”

Full review here. Score: 4/5.

Turn Up The Volume: The Specials were a political band from day 1 on, fighting racism, sexism, fascism, and every form of intolerance, inequality, and social isolation. In these restless times, a protest album is no surprise and it’s also not a surprise that it comes
from these ska legends who deliver their first non-ska album with this one.

So it feels a bit strange hearing The Specials swing from soul to reggae, from folk to gospel, from boogie-woogie to pop. Surely, the songs’ content is about rejecting any sort of social injustice, but the over musical tone is upbeat, spirited, hopeful, and totally entertaining.

Stream album here…

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1. ‘Freedom Highway’ (The Staple Singers)
2. ‘Everybody Knows’ (Leonard Cohen)
3. ‘I Don’t Mind Failing In This World’ (Malvina Reynolds)
4. ‘Black, Brown And White’ (Big Bill Broonzy)
5. ‘Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Us Around’ (traditional)
6. ‘Fuck All The Perfect People’ (Chip Taylor & The New Ukrainians)
7. ‘My Next Door Neighbour’
8. ‘Trouble Every Day’ (Frank Zappa & Mothers of Invention)
9. ‘Listening Wind’ (Talking Heads)
10. ‘Soldiers Who Want To Be Heroes’ (Rod McKuen)
11. ‘I Live In A City’ (Malvina Reynolds)
12. ‘Get Up, Stand Up’ (Bob Marley)

THE SPECIALS: Facebook

Live Music Hope In The UK

In the UK, hope for live music (outdoors) from August on is huge.

Several festival organisers already confirmed the good news. And
not small festivals only, also huge ones like Reading/Leeds and the
legendary Isle Of Wight festival. Also, great one-day events (such as
a big The Specials show) are announced.

– READING/LEEDS –

– ISLE OF WIGHT –

-THE SPECIALS –

This Day In 1980 – THE SPECIALS Topped UK Singles Chart With ‘TOO MUCH TOO YOUNG’

Top singles from the past…

2 February 2021

Band: THE SPECIALS (Coventry, UK)
Active: 1977–1984, 1993, 1996–2001, 2008–present

Single: TOO MUCH TOO YOUNG
From the ‘The Special A.K.A. Live E.P’. It was the shortest song
ever – 2 minutes 4 seconds – that topped the British charts.

You’ve done too much
Much too young
Now you’re married with a kid
When you could be having fun with me

THE SPECIALS: Facebook

BIG BLASTS FROM THE PAST – 5 Astounding Singles Turning 40 In 2021

1. CEREMONY by NEW ORDER

Released: January 1981
Album: Movement

2. THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN by THE CLASH

Released: 10 April 1981
Album: Sandinista!

3. (WE DON’T NEED THIS) FASCIST GROOVE THANG by HEAVEN 17

Released: 6 March 1981
Album: Penthouse And Pavement

4. PAPA’S GOT A BRAND NEW PIG BAG by PIGBAG

Released: May 1981
Stand-alone single.

5. JUST CAN’T GET ENOUGH by DEPECHE MODE

Released: 7 September 1981
Album: Speak And Spell

Going Back In Time – Five Big Longplayers By Five Legendary Bands…

4 October 2020

Band: The Specials
Album: More Specials – second LP
Released: 4 October 1980 – 40 years ago

Jerry Dammers on the American tour to promote the LP:
Vibraphone music in elevators. Obviously this was classed as
rubbish. I don’t know if it was my state of mind, because I was
so zonked, but it struck me as a really weird, psychedelic music,
which is now called lounge or exotica. It’s been rehabilitated, but
at the time, to say you actually liked that music was mad. It
completely freaked out some of the band.”

THE SPECIALS: All Albums
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Band: Pink Floyd
Album: Atom Heart Mother – fifth LP
Released: 2 October 1970 – 50 years ago

David Gilmour: “A load of rubbish. We were at a real down point.
I think we were scraping the barrel a bit at that period. ‘Atom Heart
Mother’ sounds like we didn’t have any idea between us, but we
became much more prolific after it.”

PINK FLOYD: All Albums
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Band: The Who
Album: The Who By Numbers – seventh LP
Released: 3 October 1975 – 45 years ago

John Entwistle. “The band’s late great bassist): “The first
cover I designed. I never got paid for. We were taking it in turns
to do the covers. It was Pete’s turn before me and we did the
Quadrophenia cover, which cost about the same as a small
house back then, about £16,000. My cover cost £32.”

THE WHO: All Albums
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Band: The Police
Album: Zenyatta Mondatta – third LP
Released: 3 October 1980 – 40 years ago

Stewart Copeland (drummer) about the LP’s title artwork:
“It’s the same explanation that applies to the last two. It doesn’t
have a specific meaning like ‘Police Brutality’ or ‘Police Arrest’,
or anything predictable like that. Being vague it says a lot more.
Miles (Stewart Copeland’s brother and group manager) came up
with “Trimondo Blondomina”. Very subtle. Like three blondes
and the world. Then somebody thought of “Caprido Von Renislam”.
That rolls off the tongue. It was the address of the studio.

THE POLICE: All Albums
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Band: Killing Joke
Album: Killing Joke – debut LP
Released: 5 October – 40 years ago

Jaz Coleman: “The first wave of punk was
manufactured. It was manufactured as boys
band but what came out of it was very interesting.”

KILLING JOKE: All Albums