~ Release group by The Specials


Specials12" Vinyl14
  • GB1979-10-19
Two-Tone Records (UK ska)CDL TT 5001[none]
The Specials (2002 Remaster)Digital Media14
Specials12" Vinyl15
Chrysalis, Phonogram6307 687[none]
Specials12" Vinyl15
Specials12" Vinyl15
Ariola (German label, used worldwide in the past)202 685
The Specials12" Vinyl15
ChrysalisCHR 1265075585126513
Chrysalis3 25001 2
ChrysalisCCD 50015013136126525
  • DE1990-08-16
Chrysalis1C 538-3 25001 2094632500120
The SpecialsCD15
ChrysalisDIDX 1537, F2 21265094632126528
  • GB2002-03-25
Two-Tone Records (UK ska)7243 5 37697 0 3724353769703
SpecialsEnhanced CD14
  • US2002-05-21
Chrysalis7243 5 37697 0 3724353769703
Specials2×CD15 + 14
  • GB2015-03-31
Two-Tone Records (UK ska)CDLTTR 50010825646336081
ChrysalisCDL TT 50015060516090570
SpecialsDigital Media15
Parlophone (aka Parlophone UK)XWAR43948F96
Specials (40th Anniversary Edition, Half-Speed)2×12" Vinyl7 + 7
  • XE2019-10-11
Two-Tone Records (UK ska)CDL TTH 50015060516094011
The SpecialsCD15ChrysalisVK 41265044114126522
Specials (opaque blue jewel case)CD14
  • -1989
ChrysalisCCD 5001


included in:2 Tone: The Albums by The Specials, The Selecter, Rico Rodriguez & Various Artists
part of:Uncut: The 100 Greatest Debut Albums (2006) (number: 20) (order: 20)
The Guardian 100 Best Albums Ever (number: 87) (order: 87)
Discogs:https://www.discogs.com/master/8179 [info]
reviews:https://www.bbc.co.uk/music/reviews/vxbd [info]
other databases:http://www.musik-sammler.de/album/76409 [info]
https://rateyourmusic.com/release/album/the-specials/specials-2/ [info]
Allmusic:https://www.allmusic.com/album/mw0000197002 [info]
Wikidata:Q1090708 [info]

CritiqueBrainz Reviews

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To understand the impact of this spearhead of the ska revival on early Thatcherite Britain you have to imagine something so left field and yet so apt occurring today. It was as if depression-era dustbowl ballads suddenly became hip again in this era of global economic meltdown. Hardly anyone would have predicted that a musical form so tied to its Afro-Carribean heritage (as well as its less cool skinhead connections) could, almost overnight, become the trendiest thing across the nation.

What's more, The Specials' combination of pre-reggae sounds with punk attitude was also a decidely non-Londoncentric movement. Two Tone (as it quickly came to be known, named for the band's label) was born on the streets of the West Midlands. And even though it also gave rise to the Camden nutty boys, Madness, it was bands like the Beat and Selector who had really seen the effects of mass unemployment and civil unrest on their neighbourhoods.

This amalgamation of styles was clear from the band's personnel: guitarist Roddy Radiation had been a big punk name around Coventry, guest trombonist Rico had played on some of the original bluebeat numbers they adopted, while Terry Hall had been a bored youngster, filling in his time behind the singles counter of the local Virgin record store. This was all put together under the gap-tooth gaze of vicar's son and organist Jerry Damners. Growing up in multi-racial Coventry had taught him as much about skinhead culture as rock 'n' roll.

This first album was produced by another (then) angry young man, Elvis Costello who kept the rawness of their club heritage intact. It reflected their setlist of ska standards (Monkey Man, A Message To You Rudy, You're Wondering Now) with social commentary (Too Much Too Young, Nite Klub).

It was a classic example of a band making an almost perfect first album, acting as both a mission statement (the rise of right wing groups opposed by the message of Two Tone equality) and as an alternative way to have fun without having to pogo or spit. John Bradbury's rimshots propel the numbers and Hall's deadpan delivery accurately soundtracks the disaffection of a generation. The Specials remains a snapshot of a bleaker time, and a wrily comical antidote to political and cultural indifference anywhere.