The Specials discography

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The Specials discography
Studio albums8
Live albums5
Compilation albums11
Video albums5
EPs4
Singles23
Collaboration album1

The discography of The Specials, an English ska revival band consists of eight studio albums, one collaboration album, five live albums, eleven compilation albums, four extended plays, twenty-three singles, and five videos.

History[edit]

The Specials has existed in four general periods. 1978-81, 1981-88, 1993-2001, and 2007-present.

1978-1981, the group was led by keyboardist Jerry Dammers and performed under the names The Specials and The Special AKA. The majority of the group's best known work was recorded during this period including the studio albums The Specials and More Specials, the EP The Special AKA Live! EP, and the single "Ghost Town".

In 1981 the group splintered into two. Terry Hall, Neville Staple and Lynval Golding formed Fun Boy Three, while the rest of the group, led by band-leader Jerry Dammers, continued and as The Special AKA. The Special AKA recorded the album In the Studio and several singles, most notably the international hit "Nelson Mandela". This line-up lasted from 1981 to 1988.

The third incarnation of the group, now called The Specials was formed in 1993. Dammers was no longer a member of the group nor was Hall. Original members Neville Staple, Roddy Byers, Lynval Golding, and Horace Panter were joined by new members Mark Adams and Adam Birch, along with a number of sessions musicians. Their first album King of Kings was a collaboration with Desmond Dekker. They then released four studio albums. The majority of the material recorded was covers, except Guilty 'til Proved Innocent!, which was new songs. This incarnation of the Specials was not commercially successful and petered out in 2001.

The current incarnation of The Specials formed in 2007 is led by the core of returning vocalist Hall, Golding and Horace Panter. This incarnation was principally a live act and consisted of all former Specials members except former band-leader Dammers. Nikolaj Torp Larsen joined as keyboardist. Over the following decade Roddy Radiation and Staple left the group, and in 2015 John Bradbury died. In 2019 the group released the studio album Encore.

Due to the large turnover of band members and studio albums of varying quality Allmusic reviewer Rick Anderson described the group as "The British 2-Tone Band that Wouldn't Die".[1]

Albums[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Year Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales threshold)
UK
[2][3]
CA
[4]
NZ
[5]
SWE
[6]
US
[7]
1979 The Specials 4 21 5 34 84
1980 More Specials
  • Second studio album
  • Release date: October 1980
  • Label: 2 Tone Records
5 49 28 30 98
1984 In the Studio (credited as The Special A.K.A.)
  • Third studio album
  • Release date: June 1984
  • Label: 2 Tone Records
34
1996 Today's Specials
1998 Guilty 'til Proved Innocent!
  • Fifth studio album
  • Release date: 24 March 1998
  • Label: MCA Records
2000 Skinhead Girl
  • Sixth studio album
  • Release date: 17 October 2000
  • Label: Receiver Records
2001 Conquering Ruler
  • Seventh studio album
  • Release date: 13 February 2001
  • Label: Receiver Records
2019 Encore
  • Eighth studio album
  • Release date: 1 February 2019
  • Label: UMG
1
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Collaboration albums[edit]

Year Album details
1993 King Of Kings

Live albums[edit]

Year Album details Peak positions
UK
[3]
1992 BBC Radio 1 Live In Concert
  • First live album, split album with The Selecter
  • Release date: 1992
  • Label: Windsong International
Live at the Moonlight Club
1999 Blue Plate Specials Live
  • Third live album
  • Release date: 1999
  • Label: Big Ear Music
Ghost Town Live
  • Fourth live album
  • Release date: 1999
  • Label: Receiver Records
2012 More... Or Less: The Specials Live
  • Fifth live album
  • Release date: 6 August 2012
  • Label: Chrysalis
109

Compilation albums[edit]

Year Album details Peak positions Certifications
(sales threshold)
UK
[3]
1991 Singles / The Singles Collection
  • Release date: 9 January 1991
  • Label: 2 Tone Records
10
1994 Dawning of a New Era (credited as Coventry Automatics aka The Specials)
  • Compilation of early recordings
  • Release date: March 1994
  • Label: Receiver Records
1996 Too Much Too Young: The Gold Collection
  • Release date: 14 May 1996
  • Label: EMI Gold
Best of the Specials
  • Release date: 1996
  • Label: Disky
1998 Concrete Jungle (credited as The Specials and Friends)
  • Compilation of early recordings, Desmond Decker collaboration, Special Beat and live tracks
  • Release date: 1998
  • Label: Receiver Records
BBC Sessions
  • Release date: 3 November 1998
  • Label: EMI Records
1999 A Special Collection
  • Release date: 1999
  • Label: EMI Records
2000 Stereo-Typical: A's, B's and Rarities
  • Release date: 28 August 2000
  • Label: EMI Records
2001 Archive
  • Compilation of live and studio recordings
  • Release date: 2001
  • Label: Rialto Records
2006 Greatest Hits
  • Re-recordings of Specials songs by Neville Staple
  • Release date: 2006
  • Label: Fantastic Price Records
2008 The Best of the Specials
  • Release date: 31 March 2008
  • Label: EMI Records
24
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Extended plays[edit]

Year Album details Peak positions
UK
[3]
1980 The Special AKA Live! EP
  • Release date: 26 January 1980
  • Label: 2 Tone Records
1
1987 The Peel Sessions
  • Release date: January 1987
  • Label: Strange Fruit
1993 The Two Tone EP
  • Release date: 27 September 1993
  • Label: 2 Tone Records
30
2012 The Specials E.P. Live!
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Singles[edit]

Year Single Peak chart positions Album
UK
[3]
IRE
[9]
NZ
[10]
NL
[11]
AUT
[12]
NOR
[13]
US Dance
[7]
US Mod
[7]
1979 "Gangsters" [A] 6 27 20 11 Non album single
"A Message to You, Rudy" / "Nite Klub" 10 19 29 35 7 Specials
1980 "Too Much Too Young" 1 3 15
"Rat Race" / "Rude Boys Outa Jail" 5 17 89 Non album single
"Stereotype" / "International Jet Set" 6 12 41 More Specials
"Do Nothing" / "Maggie's Farm" 4 13
1981 "Ghost Town" 1 3 20 12 7 Non album single
1982 "The Boiler" [B] 35
"Jungle Music" [C]
"War Crimes" [A] In the Studio
1983 "Racist Friend" / "Bright Lights" [A] 60
1984 "Free Nelson Mandela" [A] 9 6 1 9 34
"What I Like Most About You Is Your Girlfriend" [A] 51
1988 "Free Nelson Mandela" (re-recording) [A] 93 Non album single
1991 "Ghost Town Revisited" The Singles Collection
1994 "Coz I Love You" [D] Non album single
1995 "Hypocrite" 66 Today's Specials
1996 "Pressure Drop"
"A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You" [E]
1998 "It's You" 29 Guilty 'Til Proved Innocent!
"Bonediggin'" [E]
2014 "Sock It To 'Em J.B (Dub)" / "Rat Race (Dub)" [F] Non album single
2018 "Vote For Me" Encore
"—" denotes releases that did not chart
  • A^ Credited as The Special A.K.A.
  • B^ Credited as Rhoda with The Special A.K.A.
  • C^ Credited as Rico (Rodriguez) and The Special A.K.A.
  • D^ Credited as X Specials
  • E^ Promotional single release
  • F^ 2014 Record Store Day release

Compilation contributions[edit]

Title Release
date
Label
The Specials vs. The Untouchables: Ska's Greatest Stars 2002 Big Eye Music
80's New Wave Hits – Rearrangement of The Go-Go's' "Our Lips Are Sealed", with Jane Wiedlin,
originally on The Specials vs The Untouchables: Ska's Greatest Stars
2006 Big Eye Music

Videography[edit]

  • "Dance Craze – The Best of British Ska... Live!" (VHS)
  • "The Special AKA on Film" (1981 VHS & Laserdisc)
  • "The Specials: Too Much, Too Young" (2008 DVD)
  • "The Best of the Specials" (CD/DVD 2008)
  • "The Specials – 30th Anniversary Tour" (2009 DVD)

Films[edit]

Television[edit]

Commercials[edit]

  • The song "A Message to You, Rudy" was featured in a SFR television commercial directed by Bruno Aveillan, with world champion football player, Marcel Desailly in 2001
  • The song "Blank Expression" was featured in a Ford Fiesta television commercial in 2003

Video games[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Anderson, Rick. Review: Guilty 'Til Proved Innocent! Allmusic. Retrieved 2019-03-22
  2. ^ "Specials | full Official Chart history". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 519. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  4. ^ "Search – RPM – Library and Archives Canada". collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 11 March 2013.
  5. ^ Steffen Hung. "New Zealand charts portal". charts.org.nz. Retrieved 17 October 2013.
  6. ^ Steffen Hung. "Swedish Charts Portal". swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 17 October 2013.
  7. ^ a b c Chris Woodstra. "The Specials | Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 17 October 2013.
  8. ^ a b c d e [1] Archived 24 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "The Irish Charts - All there is to know". Irishcharts.ie. Archived from the original on 3 June 2009. Retrieved 17 October 2013.
  10. ^ Steffen Hung (27 April 1980). "New Zealand charts portal". charts.org.nz. Retrieved 17 October 2013.
  11. ^ Steffen Hung. "Dutch charts portal". dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved 17 October 2013.
  12. ^ Steffen Hung (15 February 1980). "Austria Top 40 - Hitparade Österreich". austriancharts.at. Retrieved 17 October 2013.
  13. ^ Steffen Hung. "Norwegian charts portal". norwegiancharts.com. Retrieved 17 October 2013.