when I first read about this project I had decided to pick Hillfields as my chosen location to base my work around but as time as gone I have decided there is nothing really in this location that interests me. I brainstormed and spoke to my tutor as I was getting quite stressed out as I no longer knew what to base my project on. I then came up with doing my work around The Specials as I really enjoy their music and they actually originated from coventry!
A bit about the band;
The Specials (sometimes called The Special AKA) are an English “2 Tone” skarevival band formed in 1977 in Coventry, England. Their music combines a danceable ska beat with punk’s energy, underpinned by an informed political and social stance. The group was formed by songwriter/keyboardist Jerry Dammers, withTerry Hall (vocals), Lynval Golding (guitar, vocals) and a rhythm section featuringHorace Panter (bass) and John Bradbury (drums). The band wore mod-style 1960s period “rude boy” outfits (pork pie hats, mohair suits, and loafers). In 1980, their song “Too Much Too Young”, the lead track on their The Special AKA Live! EP, reached number one in the UK. In 1981, the unemployment-themed single “Ghost Town” also hit number one in the UK Singles Chart.
There are actually quite a lot of members that form The Specials…
- Current members
- Lynval Golding – rhythm guitar, vocals (1977–1981, 1996–2001, 2008–present)
- Horace Panter – bass guitar (1977–1981, 1996–2001, 2008–present)
- Terry Hall – vocals and songwriting (1977–1981, 2008–present)
- Neville Staple – toasting, vocals, percussion (1978–1981, 1996–2001, 2008–present)
- Roddy Radiation – lead guitar, vocals (1978–1981, 1996–2001, 2008–present)
- John Bradbury – drums (1979–1984, 2008–present)
- Jon Read – trumpet (1996–2001, 2008–present)
- Adam Birch – trumpet (1996–2001, 2008–present)
- Tim Smart – trombone (2008–present)
- Drew Stansall – saxophone (2008–present)
- Nik Torp – keyboards (2008–present)
I found an interesting and helpful website where there is plaques of where The Specials done something historical, rememberable etc. This week I am going to go to each of these places and photograph as much as I can.
- Coventry Canal Basin It was here in 1979 that photographers Chalkie Davies & Carol Starr took a set of iconic images that graced the covers of the first two Specials albums
- The Binley Oak. It was in the backroom of this public house that The Specials unique ska sound was originally created and where Pauline Black first became a member of The Selector
- 51 Albany Road The birthplace of 2-Tone The ska phenomenon was created here by Jerry Dammers,The Specials and The Selecter It also served as the HQ for the iconic 2-Tone Record label
- Horizon Studios The renowned Horizon Studio complex stood across the road from here. It was there that The Specials and The Selecter recorded much of their classic work during 1979/1980
- Site of Tiffany’s Nightclub. 2-Tone bands The Specials, The Selecter, The Beat, Madness, The Swinging Cats and The Bodysnatchers all played at this once popular venue
- Mr George Nightclub was located on this site. The Specials played a four month residency here as The Automatics
- The Holyhead Youth Club. In the basement of this building reggae and blues jam sessions took place between Charley Anderson, Aitch Bembridge, Desmond Brown, Neol Davies, Lynval Golding,Arthur ‘Gaps’ Hendrickson, Silverton Hutchinson, Ray King and others. The music created here was fundamental in the development of the 2-Tone sound that would follow. Neville Staple also operated a sound system from here.
- Coventry University (The Lanch) Jerry Dammers and Horace Panter of The Specials and Pauline Black of The Selecter all attended this University. The song ‘Rat Race’ was conceived in this building and the promotional video was subsequently filmed in the Main Hall in 1980.
- Hand and Heart. In the late 70’s, early 80’s this public house was a major venue for the emerging Coventry music scene and played host to a plethora of artists including The Specials
- Virgin Records. Pete Waterman OBE the first Specials manager ran the Soul Hole record shop on the first floor of this building. John ‘Brad’ Bradbury of The Specials worked here, as did The Automatics vocalist Tom Strickland