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Digital Subscriptions > Classic Pop > May 2019 - Bryan Adams > THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY

THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY

WI T H I TS MESSAGE OF UNI T Y, 2 TONE BURNED BRIGHT AS THE EMBERS OF PUNK FADED AND OFFERED HOPE TO A GENERAT ION LOST. FORT Y YEARS ON FROM I TS INCEP T ION, C LASSI C POP TALKS TO I TS PRIME P LAYERS: JERRY DAMMERS, LYNVAL GOLDING AND NEVI L L E S TAPLE OF THE SPECIALS, THE SELECTER’S PAUL INE B LACK AND THE LAT E RANKING ROGER OF THE BEAT, TO TEL L THE TRUE STORY OF A LABEL THAT MORPHED INTO A WHOLE GENRE...

Sandwiched between the fury of punk and the flamboyant New Romantics, 2 Tone was the DIY indie label whose roster of bands not only raised questions regarding social ills but offered solutions. Bursting out of the deprived city streets of Coventry, The Specials and The Selecter were joined by Birmingham’s The Beat and London’s Madness to lead a post-punk ska revival that reflected a nation’s anxieties in Thatcher’s Britain. At the heart of the musical movement was Jerry Dammers.

“I grew up with The Beatles, Stones, Kinks… but The Who and Small Faces were my favourite rock bands,” Jerry tells Classic Pop. “But I also loved soul, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Stax and Motown. When I was about 10, inspired by all that incredible music, I started writing songs. I got into reggae around 1970 when hits like Liquidator and Israelites were in the charts.

“Around 1977, I was at art college in Coventry but paying my dues in a funky soul outfit from Birmingham called The Cissy Stone Band. I couldn’t persuade them to do any of my songs, which were quite soulful. Suddenly, punk happened and it turned everything upside down. I was so fed up with only doing covers that I started bashing my elbows on the keyboards. Afterwards, I was asked to leave the band, so I knew the time had finally come to form my own.

“My friend Neol Davies had a Revox tape recorder and he let me record some songs. Reggae was always part of my plan and I recorded a reggae-ish track for the soundtrack of an animated film I made at college. Horace Panter played bass on it and that was the first thing we did together. I also had lyrics for that tune, which eventually became Nite Klub.

“Charlie Anderson, Charley ‘Aitch’ Bembridge and the other guys who later became The Selecter had a reggae band called Hard Top 22, and I played keyboards with them for a while. The most popular punk band in Coventry was Squad, who Terry Hall sang with. Meanwhile, Lynval Golding and Desmond Brown were playing covers with Ray King, in his band Pharoah’s Kingdom.”

“I first met Jerry when I was playing in soul bands around Coventry,” remembers Golding when Classic Pop catches up with him separately. “I was born in Jamaica and exposed to all the early roots-reggae. My father was from the generation who came to England on the Windrush and settled in Gloucester where he found a job in manufacturing. After he was laid off, he followed the work to Coventry and its thriving motor industry.

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About Classic Pop

Issue 52 of Classic Pop is on sale now! This month, we have an exclusive interview with Bryan Adams and get the inside track on his adventure-packed 40 years in music plus we meet Howard Jones who tells us why he's returning to his synth-pop roots for new studio album, Transform. Classic Pop celebrates the 40th anniversary of the 2 Tone movement by speaking to those who made it happen including Jerry Dammers, Lynval Golding, Pauline Black and Ranking Roger; hip-hop legends De La Soul reveal the ties that have kept them together since their 1989 breakout LP 3 Feet High And Rising and we also talk to Toyah Willcox who explains why she's revisiting her 2008 album In The Court Of The Crimson Queen. Elsewhere, we interview Erasure's Andy Bell, pop tunesmith Guy Chambers and A Flock Of Seagulls. We also have unseen photos of Nick Heyward and Haircut 100. Our Classic Album is Soul II Soul's Club Classics Vol One and we serve up a buyer's guide to Japan and David Sylvian. Our packed new album reviews section includes Howard Jones, Morrissey, The Cranberries and The Waterboys. On the reissues front, Stephen Duffy's wonderful I Love My Friends makes its debut on vinyl plus there are re-releases from Heaven 17, Stevie Nicks, Julian Cope and more. In our live reviews section, we check out gigs by The Specials, Giorgio Moroder, Emika and Stewart Copeland.