The Specials, also known as The Special AKA, are an English 2 Tone and ska revival band formed in 1977 in Coventry. Their music combines a "danceable ska and rocksteady beat with punk's energy and attitude". Lyrically they present a "more focused and informed political and social stance".

The band wore mod-style "1960s period rude boy outfits (pork pie hats, tonic and mohair suits and loafers)". In 1980, the song "Too Much Too Young", the lead track on their The Special AKA Live! EP, reached No. 1 in the UK. In 1981, the unemployment-themed single "Ghost Town" also hit No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart.

After seven consecutive UK Top 10 singles between 1979 and 1981, three members of the group abruptly left to form Fun Boy Three. Continuing on as "The Special AKA" (a name they used frequently on earlier Specials releases), a substantially revised Specials line-up issued new material through 1984, including the top 10 UK hit single "Free Nelson Mandela". Afterwards, founder and songwriter Jerry Dammers dissolved the band and pursued political activism.

The group reformed in 1993, and have continued to perform and record with varying line-ups (but without Dammers).

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Album + Compilation

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
Non-Stop Eighties Party Various Artists 1
Original Hits - 70's Pop Various Artists 1
Ska Is the Limit Various Artists 1
Ska Mania Various Artists 1
Ska Mania Various Artists 1
Terry Hall: The Collection Various Artists 1
The Best Ska Album in the World... Ever! Various Artists 1
The No. 1 Ska Album Various Artists 1
The Return of Rude Boy Various Artists 1

Album + Compilation + Live

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
2011 Movement: BBC Radio 1 Peel Sessions 1977-1979 Various Artists 1

Album + Soundtrack

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1981 Dance Craze Various Artists 3
1996 Mandela Various Artists 3
2013 Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom Various Artists 2

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