The Specials

The Specials were an English ska band that released the 1979–80 albums The Specials and More Specials on 2 Tone, a specialty imprint started by keyboardist Jerry Dammers in cooperation with Chrysalis. They scored hits with “Gangsters,” “A Message to You, Rudy,” “Too Much Too Young,” “Rat Race,” and the 1981 UK No. 1 “Ghost […]

The Selecter

The Selecter was an English ska band that released the 1980 2 Tone album Too Much Pressure, followed by the 1981 Chrysalis release Celebrate the Bullet. The former spawned the UK Top 20 hits “On My Radio” and “Three Minute Hero.” Members: Neol Davies (guitar, 1977-92), John Bradbury (drums, 1977-79), Barry Jones (trombone, 1977-?), Desmond […]

The Beat ‎– Wha’ppen (1981)

Wha’ppen is the second album by English ska-pop/reggae sextet The Beat, released in 1981 on Go Feet/I.R.S. Tracklist: A1. “Doors of Your Heart” (3:46) A2. “All Out to Get You” (2:44) A3. “Monkey Murders” (3:10) A4. “I Am Your Flag” (2:53) A5. “French Toast (Soleil Trop Chaud)” (3:31) A6. “Drowning” (3:53) B1. “Dream Home in […]

The Specials ‎– The Specials (1979)

The Specials is the debut album by the namesake Coventry Two Tone/ska band, produced by Elvis Costello and released in 1979 on 2 Tone/Chrysalis. Tracklist: A1. “A Message to You Rudy” (2:54) A2. “Do the Dog” (2:12) A3. “It’s Up to You” (3:25) A4. “Nite Klub” (3:24) A5. “Doesn’t Make It Alright” (3:26) A6. “Concrete […]

Madness ‎– One Step Beyond… (1979)

One Step Beyond… is the debut album by English two-tone/ska sextet Madness, released in October 1979 on Stiff Records. Tracklist: A1. “One Step Beyond…” (2:17) A2. “My Girl” (2:44) A3. “Night Boat to Cairo” (3:28) A4. “Believe Me” (2:28) A5. “Land of Hope & Glory” (2:56) A6. “The Prince” (3:17) A7. “Tarzan’s Nuts” (2:23) B1. […]

Dexys Midnight Runners

Dexys Midnight Runners were an English new wave band that emerged from the Birmingham R&B–ska scene with the 1980 EMI–Parlophone album Searching for the Young Soul Rebels, which spawned the UK No. 1 “Geno.” They embraced Celtic folk-pop on the 1982 Mercury release Too-Rye-Ay and its transatlantic hit “Come On Eileen.” Bandleader Kevin Rowland revised […]


UB40 are an English reggae-pop band from Birmingham that debuted with the LP+EP release Signing Off on local small-press Graduate Records in 1980. After setting up their own DEP International imprint through a distribution deal with Virgin, the band released their second proper full-length, Present Arms, concurrent with a dub-version of the album in 1981. […]

The Selecter ‎– Too Much Pressure (1980)

Too Much Pressure is the first of two albums by English Two Tone/ska septet The Selecter, released in 1980 on 2 Tone/Chrysalis. The American issue shuffles the track order and adds the 1979 single a-side “On My Radio.” Tracklist: A1. “Three Minute Hero” (3:00) A2. “Everyday” (3:10) A3. “They Make Me Mad” (2:47) A4. “Missing […]


Madness are an English ska-pop/new wave band that was initially active as a recording unit between 1979 and 1986. Comprised of between six and seven members during various iterations, the band emerged amidst the two-tone/ska craze that swept the UK at the turn of the 1980s. Formed circa 1976/77 in the North London borough of […]

Bad Manners

Bad Manners were an English ska band from Stoke Newington that released four albums on Magnet between 1980 and 1982, followed by a string of titles on assorted labels from 1985 onward. Members: Buster Bloodvessel [Doug Trendle] (vocals), Louis “Alphonso” Cook (guitar), David Farren (bass), Brian Tuitt (drums), Winston Bazoomies [Alan Sayagg] (harmonica), Paul Hyman […]

Reluctant Stereotypes

The Reluctant Stereotypes were an English New Wave/ska band from Coventry that issued a three-song EP on A&M-subsidiary Oval Music in 1979, followed by the album The Label with three accompanying singles/b-sides on WEA in 1980. Vocalist Paul King, who joined just prior to the WEA releases, later recorded two albums with his own surname-sake […]