Los Angeles declares Wednesday May 29th ‘The Specials Day’

Ska heroes and Big Issue favourites get a whole day to themselves in the two-tone hotbed of Southern California

Los Angeles has declared Wednesday, May 29th ‘The Specials Day’ in honour of the lasting impact the British band has had on the Californian city.

The band first played in the city in 1979 and has enjoyed a loyal and dedicated following ever since. Los Angeles’ deep affection for The Specials is seen in the multiple ska revival nights that take place in clubs and bars around the city every week; where rude boys and girls come together to skank to the band’s recordings.

The Specials’ monochrome Walt Jabsco logo and their original Two Tone record label checkered flag has been a ubiquitous sight on the shirts and buttons of music fans at concerts around the city for decades, with LA councilwoman Monica Rodriguez saying their music is “emblematic of the strength derived from our diversity” in Los Angeles.

It’s extremely rewarding to see our music resonate so deeply with the people of Los Angeles.

The band are currently in California as part of a North American tour in support of their new album Encore – the first new music the band have released together since 1980, and the first album of theirs to go to the top spot in the UK charts.

The Specials said: “We’re delighted to have May 29th named ‘The Specials Day’ in Los Angeles. We love the city and have found Los Angelenos to be some of the warmest and most enthusiastic audiences in the world. We love spending time there and have made a great many friends over the years. It’s extremely rewarding to see our music resonate so deeply with the people of Los Angeles and we thank the LA City Council for this honor. We share it with the fans.”

Rodriguez, who presented Terry Hall, Lynval Golding and Horace Panter with a commemorative certificate this week, said: “Their music is an example that embracing our differences and uniqueness makes us more powerful.”

The Big Issue

In February, The Specials graced the front cover of The Big Issue as we went back to the locations of their iconic Ghost Town music video

The band, whose 1981 UK chart-topper Ghost Town soundtracked the riots in the inner cities that year, spoke exclusively to The Big Issue about the political threads that run through their music, including their comeback album Encore. They reaffirmed that no matter how many decades have passed, they have always got a lot to say.

“You could tie our music in with any event of any year we release it… maybe apart from the Winter Olympics,” frontman Terry Hall said. “We wouldn’t be so relevant there. But yeah, it just so happens that the country is in turmoil again. Huge turmoil. Bigger than you would want to imagine.

“I find myself in awe of the mess, nightly listening to politicians giving their opinion and thinking, I don’t necessarily trust any of you, really. It is pretty sad. I grew up aligned to a party, the Labour Party, quite strongly. Until Tony Blair made Noel Gallagher prime minister I knew exactly where I stood.”

Read the full interview here