Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Specials - Ghost Town

Kicking off this year's All Hallows Even festivities is "Ghost Town" by The Specials.  The Specials were a truly innovative band, and one of the first 2 Tone ska bands in the U.K.  Founded in 1977, they combined an updated ska sound with an aggressive punk attitude.  Add in political lyrics, and you have the makings of an important and interesting band.

The group had 7 top 10 hits in the U.K. between 1979 and 1981, without much success in the U.S.  "Ghost Town," a non-album single released in 1981, spent three weeks as the #1 song in the U.K.  Inspired by the economic problems and urban decay of Britain in the early 1980's, the song touched a nerve in the U.K., but remains somewhat unknown in the U.S.

The video, featuring the band driving around in a Vauxhall Cresta through empty London streets is simple but effective, and is a great way to start off the Halloween season.

Many critics view "Ghost Town" as The Specials greatest achievement.  Unfortunately, the band partially disintegrated soon after the song was released, with the three primary singers (Terry Hall, Neville Staple, and Lynval Golding) leaving to form Fun Boy Three.  While The Specials carried on (as The Special AKA) for one album, it was not as successful, and Jerry Dammers (the band's primary songwriter) disbanded the group in 1984.

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