40 years ago a new, fresh sound exploded out of the UK music scene which is still fervently loved today.... Two Tone was born.
With the skinhead movement and increasing National Front activity in the late 1970’s, the label was instrumental in bringing tolerance and understanding to the music scene, as black, white and Asian youths shared dance floors and stages across the country to the 2-Tone scene.
From the celebration of ska’s pioneers to the contemporary call of solidarity to Britain’s beleaguered workforce , the 2 Tone label polarised the the feelings of Ghost Towns across the UK. It spoke to people of the issues they knew and offered an excitable dance music to support the stark message. Over course of only a couple of years the small label would become a full blown movement of music and political thought.
In November 1979, six months after Gangsters reached the top 10, The Selecter, The Specials and Madness all appeared on the same episode of TOTP (with On My Radio, A Message to You Rudy and One Step Beyond) and took turns in headlining a frantic tour – captured in the film Dance Craze. By 1981 Ghost Town proved the pivotal 2 Tone release, encapsulating the urban alienation, decay and the violent mood on the streets in Britain , few would dispute that its reign at the top of the charts as Britain’s inner cities blazed was coincidental
The society that Two Tone existed in is still prevalent today, divisive politicians, class inequality and racial conflict remain a thorn in our lives. The Two Tone movement reinvented, it innovated and had a unique identity like nothing that had proceeded it. Fusing elements of ska, punk rock, rocksteady, reggae, and New Wave.
A new breed of ska bands have been continuing the traditions of the scene and adding a twist of their own. ‘Check One-2 The spirit of 79’ will be bringing those bands together on a four disc CD Boxset to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Two Tone movement.
It will feature new versions of all of the labels singles and classic album tracks. It will also celebrate the wider scene that it influenced and supported including Bad Manners, UB40 The Beat as well as some forgotten gems of the era.
Already, over thirty tracks have been agreed with bands across the globe including guest appearances by Horace Panter, Roddy Byers, and Lee Thompson. As previous years, the album will be produced by Paul Ayriss and Paul Willo, with art by Dave Moran.
If you’re band is interested in appearing on this album you can contact us here
A list of the songs already agreed is here.
Check 1-2 will include the singles and B-sides by
The Specials (and “The Special AKA”)
Elvis Costello & the Attractions
The Friday Club
The Swinging Cats
(See link above for list)
It will also include tracks from the debut albums from The Specials, The Selecter, Madness and the Beat
Also songs by Bad Manners, Arthur Kay, Dexy Midnight Runners and UB40
Dance Craze Movie
Two Tone Britain
The Specials - Gangsters