Under the guidance of creative enforcer Jerry Dammers, 2 Tone Records blazed it’s way onto the music scene in 1979 with a sound and identity of it’s own. The music captured within its grooves was exciting and vital, possessing a real edge and usually a message to boot. But 2 Tone was more than just a record label. It was a movement, a style, a spirit, a cultural phenomenon. It was meaningful, influential and to many like myself, life changing.
Much has been written about this iconic record label so I’m not going to try to repeat the story of it here. The message above all from 2 Tone was one of unity so it was ironic to see most of the bands ultimately fall apart amidst a barrage of bitterness and equally sad over the years to see the way some of these bands have been resurrected. The music does still sound exciting today and what it stood for is of course still as relevant however for me, 2 Tone was of a time and a place…which was from 1979 to 1984 in a bleak and gloomy Britain.
Way back then, my week somewhat revolved around Thursday evenings and the golden era of Top of the Pops. The charts felt so important then and fortunately bands which I followed like The Specials, Madness, The Selecter and The Beat were often riding high in the Top 40 and therefore playing regularly in our living room. Videos were not produced for most singles on 2 Tone however there were many television appearances featuring these releases and that’s what I’ve tried my best to document on here. I’m not claiming this list is complete however hopefully it’s not too far off. Both Madness and The Beat only released one single on 2 Tone Records so I’ve only included their appearances from around those periods and the same applies to other bands. The dates provided are either when the performances were filmed or broadcast and sometimes shows were broadcast live of course. There are gaps to fill in and any extra information would be much appreciated!
I’ve included details of some official VHS/DVD releases as clips from these would’ve often been shown on television programmes. I have however left out such programmes where only promo videos were shown and the odd performance which may have been recorded but never broadcast. I’m afraid I can’t provide copies of appearances, for sale or otherwise (I don’t have many of them myself) however I’ve posted links to the vast majority which I have found online and will upload some others myself too if I can. This are 2 Tone on TV…
Last Update: 01/04/19