The Specials

1977-
Terry HallVocals1977-
Jerry DammersKeyboards1977-1984
Lynval GoldingGuitar, vocals1977-
Neville StapleToasting, percussion1978-2013
Roddy ByersGuitar1978-2014
Horace PanterBass1977=
John BradburyDrums1979-2015
Nikolaj Torp Larsen Keyboards 2008-
Steve CradockGuitar2014-

The Specials Artistfacts

  • The Specials were a British ska revival septet who in the late-'70s and early-'80s were at the forefront of the UK 2 Tone movement which was popular among skinheads, rudies and some mod revivalists. Among their UK hit singles were "Gangsters," "Too Much Too Young" and "Ghost Town."
  • The Specials set up the 2 Tone record label distributed by Chrysalis in 1979. 2 Tone Records signed other successful ska revival bands The Selecter, Madness and The Beat, but they all left within two years. The label stopped operating in 1986.
  • The band imploded in 1981 when the three frontmen, Terry Hall, Neville Staple and Lynval Golding left to form Fun Boy Three. Keyboard player and chief songwriter Jerry Dammers drastically revised the line-up, adding vocalists Stan Campbell and Rhoda Dakar, and began working again under the group name The Special AKA. They had a hit in 1984 with "Nelson Mandela." The song contributed to making Mandela a cause célèbre in the United Kingdom, and became popular with anti-Apartheid activists in South Africa.
  • In 2001 the group's 1979 debut album, The Specials, re-charted at #22 on the UK album chart for the first time in more than twenty years, after the price was slashed to £2.99.
  • The group has had two reformations, first in 1996 and again in 2008. The later version included six of the seven original members. Absent was Jerry Dammers.
  • Terry Hall claimed in a 2019 podcast that he was abducted by a pedophile ring in France at the age of 12. He was drugged up on Valium for about a year and and dropped out of education at 14. Since then, The Specials' frontman has had an ongoing battle with depression.
  • The Specials bassist Horace Painter paints for a hobby. He told Q magazine: "I paint pictures of American buildings. And I just started painting Japanese vending machines. It's a bit niche."

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