It would be impossible to overstate the importance of The Specials to the music scene. Despite a brief career, the Coventry band lit up the late 70's like a comet, their melding of punk and ska creating the 2-Tone sound that is still today is held up as an influence by bands across the world, having inspired the massively popular ska scene of southern California in the 90s. Now, thirty years since the release of their debut single, "Gangsters," The Specials will take to the road for select US dates in April. The band has already completed a 33-date UK tour that sold out in record time.
The band will kick off their US stint with a performance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on April 13th. The performance will be the band's first US television performance since they played "Saturday Night Live" in 1980.
The band's triumphant return to the live arena has been captured on film for a very special live DVD to be released on March 1, 2010. Featuring classic tracks such as "Too Much Too Young," "Do The Dog" and "Gangsters," the film was shot at the band's Wolverhampton Civic Hall show on November 10th, 2009 by director Lindy Heymann. The DVD also features exclusive footage from backstage and rehearsals as well as interviews with fans explaining what the band and the gigs mean to them. Initial quantities will be available as a 2 x DVD set with a 'two-tone' version on the show (in black and white) on the second disc. The DVD will be available via the band's website and Amazon.
Over two studio albums, The Specials scored eight top ten singles, including two number ones for the "Too Much Too Young" live EP and the era defining "Ghost Town." They had two Top 5 albums and spawned a retrospective list of compilation and live albums from official releases to much sought after bootlegs. The band were rightly regarded as the starting point of the ska scene that swept the UK through 1978 and, in many ways, were emblematic of their times, their songs dealing with the confusion of a country in industrial decline whilst struggling to come to terms with multi-culturalism and a new creed which became known as Thatcherism. Their re-emergence into a Britain teetering on the edge of recession and still plagued by the same divisions and problems that they so memorably highlighted in "Ghost Town" could not seem more apt, the songs from The Specials seeming as relevant today as they did 30 years ago.