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The Specials, X-Ray Spex Both Reunite For U.K. Concerts

September 8, 2008 11:05 AM ET

A pair of acclaimed British bands reunited this weekend, as both ska legends the Specials and punk act X-Ray Spex reformed. The bulk of the Specials were the surprise guests at this weekend's Bestival at the Isle of Wight, playing their first show together since their 1981 breakup. However, because co-founder and keyboardist Jerry Dammers wasn't present at the show, the band was billed as Terry Hall and Friends. The almost Specials did perform a greatest hits-filled set, including "A Message To You, Rudy" and "Monkey Man." Also this weekend, X-Ray Spex reformed for the first time since 1995 to perform their entire 1978 album Germ Free Adolescents at London's Roundhouse venue. Like the Specials, X-Ray Spex were forced to perform with an altered line-up, as original guitarist Jak Airport died of cancer in 2004.

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Song Stories

“Nightshift”

The Commodores | 1984

The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

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