Watch The Specials Perform “A Message To You, Rudy” on the Old Grey Whistle Test In 1979

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Watch The Specials Perform “A Message To You, Rudy” on the Old Grey Whistle Test In 1979

the specials, 1979
The Specials. Photo by Allan Tannenbaum/IMAGES/Getty Images.

In the late 1970s, The Specials kick-started the 2-Tone movement which spurred a ska-punk revolution, championing racial unity and understanding for decades to come. In 1979, they took their message to the masses when they appeared on The Old Grey Whistle Test – a program renowned for pushing new music in the UK.

Comprised of Terry Hall and Neville Staple on vocals, Lynval Golding and Roddy Radiation on guitars, Horace Panter on bass, Jerry Dammers on keyboards, John Bradbury on drums, and Dick Cuthell and Rico Rodriguez on horns – The Specials were a multi-racial and multi-talented group that formed a snapshot of urban youth in a late 70s UK.

Despite finding their debut in 1977, the band aligned themselves with the rocksteady ska stylings of the ’60s; but it was their cultivated message, poised unapologetically at the forefront of their creativity that gave away their dedication to the feverous energy of punk. That fiery energy shines through The Specials’ live performance of ska legend, Dandy Livingstone’s “A Message to You, Rudy” on The Old Grey Whistle Test.

With their rudeboy suits and punk political perspectives, The Specials were one of the U.K.'s defining bands, expanding the musical and political parameters of modern rock with their fusion of cutting social commentary, and traditional Jamaican grooves. Their eponymous debut album, released in 1979 was produced by Elvis Costello and, along with “A Message to You, Rudy” also contained covers of Prince Buster and Toots & the Maytals songs from the late 1960s. Listen on Spotify:

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