A Message to You Rudy
|"Rudy a Message to You"|
|Single by Dandy Livingstone|
|B-side||"Till Death Do Us Part"|
|Studio||Maximum Sounds Studio, Old Kent Road, London|
|Dandy Livingstone singles chronology|
"A Message to You Rudy" is a 1967 rocksteady song by Dandy Livingstone. Originally titled "Rudy a Message to You", the song later achieved broader success when, in 1979, a cover by The Specials reached number 10 in the UK Singles Chart.
Composition and recording
Livingstone came up with the idea of the song in about 10 minutes and recorded it a day or two later in about 20 minutes at Maximum Sounds Studio on Old Kent Road with engineer Vic Keary. Livingstone has said that he "had a very bad cold" on the day of recording and so it was suggested that he record the song as a guide vocal and then go over the vocals another day. However, everybody liked what Livingstone had done, so he didn't bother going back to sing over it. Whilst recording the song, Livingstone decided he wanted a trombone to feature in the song, so about a week after the recording session, he got trombonist Rico Rodriguez to play the intro melody. At the same time, he got a tenor saxophonist called Pepsi to play the same intro riff and "alternate the solo differently".
"Rudy a Message to You" did have some success commercially, selling 30,000 units. It also peaked at number 9 on Record Mirror's Top R&B Singles chart in August 1967, in which it was listed as "Rudie Take a Message".
The lyrics warn a "rudy" (rude boy) to think of his future and change his ways, otherwise he will end up in prison. However the reception was not what was intended and it was received as glorifying the rude boy culture.
Livingstone noticed that by 1969, there were three cover versions of "Rudy a Message to You", first of which was by The Locomotive. He only found out about The Specials' version after seeing their performance on Top of the Pops, after which he made inquiries about the publishing. He found out Carlin Music was the publisher and they had been trying to find Livingstone's whereabouts. Livingstone was also contacted by Eddy Grant who wanted to be the publisher of the song and gave him £250 in advance. However, Livingstone turned down the offer and signed with Carlin.
The Specials version
|"A Message to You Rudy"|
|Single by The Specials featuring Rico|
|from the album The Specials|
|A-side||"Nite Klub" (double A-side)|
|Released||12 October 1979|
|The Specials singles chronology|
|UK Singles (OCC)||10|
|Australia (Kent Music Report)||29|
|Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)||7|
|Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)||22|
|Netherlands (Single Top 100)||35|
|New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)||29|
- "A Message To You Rudy/Nite Klub", Chart Stats; retrieved 2010-08-26.
- Taylor, Angus (27 May 2019). "Interview with Dandy Livingstone - The Return of a Legend". www.reggaeville.com. Archived from the original on 2019-05-27. Retrieved 2021-03-04.
- "An interview with Dandy Livingstone". Reggae Steady Ska. 2020-12-29. Archived from the original on 2020-12-30. Retrieved 2021-03-04.
- Reggae Interviews: Dandy Livingstone 'Rudy, A Message to You'. YouTube. 1 July 2020. Archived from the original on 2021-12-20. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
- Garvin, Patrick (2016-11-28). ""A Message To You, Rudy": Cover Songs Uncovered". The Pop Culture Experiment. Archived from the original on 2016-12-21. Retrieved 2021-03-04.
- "Britain's Top R&B Singles" (PDF). Record Mirror. 12 August 1967. p. 11. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
- Amon Saba Saakana and Sebastian Clarke (2009). Jah Music: The Evolution of the Popular Jamaican Song. Heinemann Educational. p. 89. ISBN 9780435821401.
- Dandy Livingstone – Rudy, A Message To You (1979, Vinyl), retrieved 2021-03-05
- "The Specials Featuring Rico - A Message to You Rudy".
- "Rico Rodriguez". AllMusic. Retrieved 12 June 2011.
- "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
- Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 286. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
- "The Specials – A Message To You Rudy" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
- "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Message to You Rudi". Irish Singles Chart.
- "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 5, 1980" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
- "The Specials – A Message To You Rudy" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
- "The Specials – A Message To You Rudy". Top 40 Singles.