The Specials - Ghost Town (TOTP)





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Published on Oct 4, 2008

The Specials lip syncing their classic number one single Ghost Town on Top Of the Pops in july 1981.

2 Tone
Released: 20 June 1981

A side
Ghost Town

B side
Friday Night, Saturday Morning

Ghost Town marked the pinnacle of the labels achievements. Critics have called it "one of few singles to reflect perfectly a period in history" and "one of the most important records of our time". Released at a time when Prince Charles and Lady Diana were about to marry and inner city riots swept Britain the single summed up perfectly the irony of the whole period. It stayed on the number 1 spot for 3 weeks and became the labels first single to sell a million copies and also marked the first UK 12 inch from 2 Tone.

With the exception of Dance Craze 2 Tone had been very quiet throughout the first half of 1981 and friction was becoming apparent within the Specials camp. According to Terry Hall the recording of the single was dogged by bad feeling among the various band members even getting to the stage were they wouldn't go into the studio together. The arrangements of the singles' others tracks also caused ill feeling. Terry Hall would have preferred his composition Friday Night Saturday Morning to have consisted of just him and a piano in a pub sing-a-long type fashion but in the end he had to make do with version which was released.

The structure of the song Ghost Town has also been a topic of conversation. The typical format of verse-chorus-verse was set aside in favour of what was indeed a very unusual sounding record. Given the fact that it was recorded on 8 track it makes it even more remarkable.

With a number one single on their hands Chrysalis Records pushed the boat out and produced a video to accompany the song. In usual 2 Tone fashion it was a very simple video which involved the band squeezed into one car driving around what appear to be empty roads. More interesting are the 2 Top Of The Pops appearances the band made to promote the single. Both performances saw the band expanded to a 11 piece which included Rico, Dick Cuthell, Rhoda Dakar and ex-Swinging Cat, Paul Heskett on flute. It was obvious from these appearances that the band had dropped the trademark tonic suits and crops in favour of more 80s casual look. A few months later 3 band members dropped the band all altogether and that was the end of The Specials but not 2 Tone.
(Source: 2-Tone info)

This town, is coming like a ghost town
All the clubs have been closed down
This place, is coming like a ghost town
Bands won't play no more
too much fighting on the dance floor

Do you remember the good old days
Before the ghost town?
We danced and sang,
And the music played inna de boomtown

This town, is coming like a ghost town
Why must the youth fight against themselves?
Government leaving the youth on the shelf
This place, is coming like a ghost town
No job to be found in this country
Can't go on no more
The people getting angry

This town, is coming like a ghost town
This town, is coming like a ghost town
This town, is coming like a ghost town
This town, is coming like a ghost town


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