Specials are back in town

The specials shot at big sky studios
The specials shot at big sky studios
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The Specials’ Ghost Town seems like a dark prophecy now.

High street shops are laden with vacuous displays and the mills that once reigned over the country’s skyline are no more.

It’s 32 years since they penned that track and yet it remains one of the most enduring ska punk tracks of our time.

And, like their songs, the band too has its longevity. The Specials may have formed 36 years ago, but - following a much-publicised reform for their 30th anniversary in 2009 - they are still touring.

Many people doubted they would have the lasting power, yet their audiences have grown.

The band have travelled all over the globe and sold-out hundreds of large-capacity shows.

The biggest of these concerts was the closing show of the Olympics, where they played alongside Blur, New Order and Bombay Bicycle Club.

But while the band’s life-span is impressive, their rise to fame was sudden. Within their first two years in existence, The Specials had five Top Ten singles and two Number One hits in the bag.

Not bad for a band that was essentially in their infancy.

But the band’s real achievement is less quantifiable. They may have prompted riots, rebels and opened people’s minds about issues such as politics, class and race.

Their concerts were frequently marked by violence. On one occasion Terry Hall and Jerry Dammers were charged with inciting a riot after members of the crowd had a run-in with the bouncers at a Cambridge concert.

But they were cage-rattlers.

And they’re still at it.

The Specials play at Sheffield Leadmill tonight, Thursday.