1981-82

 

17/01/81    THE SPECIALS – Enjoy Yourself (Old Grey Whistle Test)

Captured live in Liverpool the previous October for Dance Craze, this recording was not actually used in the film.  It features the mother of all stage invasions, giving Neville another excuse to scale the speakers.  This footage would later appear on official VHS/DVD Specials releases.

Neville Staples The Specials live in Liverpool Old Grey Whistle Test

Click here to see: The Specials – Enjoy Yourself (Old Grey Whistle Test)

 

24/01/81    THE SPECIALS – Appearance (Tiswas)

The Fun Boy Trio of Terry, Neville and Lynval rise and shine early to appear on ITV’s madcap Saturday morning children’s show.   “Do Nothing” was still in the UK Top 5 and Dance Craze was soon to be released but no further details available on this appearance unfortunately. 

The Specials Tiswas 1980

 

20/06/81    THE SPECIALS – Why (Underage)

The Specials organise, finance and headline the Peaceful Protect against Racism concert at Butts Athletic Stadium in Coventry in response to growing racial violence in the city.  Unfortunately the threat of trouble from a right wing march had a big effect on attendance resulting in the band being left £8,000 out of pocket afterwards.  It would also sadly end up being The Specials’ final performance in their hometown but  fortunately a film crew was on hand to capture some footage for a documentary film on the life of teenagers in Coventry.  It was a brilliant performance from The Specials that day by all accounts and what also really stands out on the footage here is how young and of mixed race the audience is.  “Ghost Town” had just been released and a section of the live audio recording of the track plays out over the film’s opening and closing credits, complete with Rico’s mournful and evocative solo.

The Specials Peaceful Protest Against Racism Butts Athletic Stadium 1981

 

02/07/81    THE SPECIALS – Ghost Town (Top of the Pops)

Band relations are deteriorating as The Specials haunt the no. 2 spot and the Top of the Pops stage in appropriate semi-darkness.  Their extended line up has swelled beyond Rico and Dick at this point to also include Bodysnatcherette Rhoda Dakar with her wild hair and Swinging Cat Paul Heskett with his flute.  Jerry rests his head on his organ to expose another large grin as they enter the bridge whilst a sinister looking Terry Hall wields a cane and stamps his size 10s in time to the closing beats.  This appearance was repeated on 23/07/81 and 31/12/80.

Terry Hall The Specials Ghost Town Top of the Pops 1981

Click here to see: Ghost Town (Top of the Pops) 02/07/81

 

09/07/81    THE SPECIALS – Ghost Town (Top of the Pops)

One week later and “Ghost Town” is at no. 1, proving that just sometimes the best songs do make it to the top.  The band are introduced by that creepy DJ fella again and Adam Ant on this celebratory 900th edition of the show.  It’s the full squad again with a skeleton also keeping Brad company at the back.  Despite being destined for even greater things, this would prove to be the last UK TV performance by The Specials.  It’s a fitting finale nonetheless as it’s an absolutely superb performance.  The band may have been on the brink of collapse but Terry looks quite cheerful here at times; his sardonic smile as he mimes the line “can’t go on no more” perhaps hinting at his plans to leave the band in the near future.  Jerry jumps off his organ with an audible thud just as the camera ominously zooms in with a close up of the soon to be Fun Boy Three for the final few bars.  “Ghost Town” would remain at no. 1 for a further two weeks before being dethroned by Shaky and his green door.

The Specials Ghost Town Top of the Pops 1981

Click here to see: Ghost Town (Top of the Pops) 09/07/81

 

10/08/81    THE SPECIALS – Do Nothing/Interview (Zikk-Zakk) 

This opens with a live cut of “Do Nothing”, recorded (but also not used) for Dance Craze which Terry dedicates “to the two million unemployed and everybody who hasn’t finished their scampi”. The Specials played the Horten Festival in Norway on 26th June and this interview with Terry and Lynval was recorded the following day for this NRK music show.  It seems like the after-party or maybe just being part of The Specials at this point has taken its toll as the duo don’t appear too interested in what they’re being asked.  The eagle eyed amongst you will spot that Lynval wears a Madness Night Boat to Cairo t-shirt under his jacket. 

Terry Hall Lynval Golding The Specials Zikk-Zakk 1981Click here to see: Do Nothing/Interview (Zikk-Zakk) 10/08/81

 

04/02/80-23/08/81    THE SPECIALS/THE SELECTER – Interviews/Live Clips (MuchMusic/The New Music)

There’s a good chunk of 2-Tone included in this Canadian documentary on the history of ska which was broadcast firstly in 1991 under the title MuchMusic and then later as a different edit in the UK as The New Music.  It includes snippets of interviews both with Jerry and Horace, recorded on 4th February 1980 when The Specials were in Vancouver, and with Pauline and Compton, when The Selecter played the same city two months later.  But that’s not all!  Fast forward and we get some clips of The Specials performing “Concrete Jungle”, “Sock it to ’em JB” and “Enjoy Yourself” in front of over 25,000 people at The Police Picnic at the Grove Farm in Oakville, Canada on 23rd August 1981.  Terry gets interviewed too at the picnic and talks positively about the 2 Tone movement being “on a good level now” which is a bit strange as his Fun Boy Three mop was germinating on his head and The Specials were about to play their final gig only days later in Boston. 

Pauline Black Compton Amanor The Selecter The NewMusic

Interviews/Live Clips (MuchMusic) 1980-81

 

15/01/82    RHODA – The Boiler (ORS)

This harrowing song dates back to Rhoda’s Bodysnatchers’ days with Jerry Dammers and friends reverting to the name of The Special AKA as backing band for its single release.  Former Bodysnatchers bassist Nicky Summers also recorded on it but it’s Rhoda all alone here in the BBC Manchester studio performing a powerful, live monologue to a backing track. She also gets briefly interviewed.  This appearance came a week after Judge Bertrand Richards caused outcry by deciding that a rape victim was “guilty of a great deal of contributing negligence” as she’d hitched a lift to try get home.  Dammers described it as a “listen-once only single” and most radio shows would end up deeming it “unsuitable” for airplay.

Rhoda Dakar The Boiler ORS 1981

Click here to see: The Boiler (ORS) 15/01/82

 

06/12/82    THE HIGSONS – Tear the Whole Thing Down/Unknown (Riverside)

Two Tone’s new wave of bands drags the label in a funkier direction, courtesy of The Apollinaires from Leicester and The Higsons from Norwich.  This performance from the latter at Riverside Studios in Hammersmith included a live take of their current 2 Tone single which was failing to trouble the charts and was probably to be found languishing in the Woolworth’s Bargain Bins by now.

 

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