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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

“Vicious”

Lou Reed | 1972

Opening Lou Reed's 1972 solo album, the hard-riffing "Vicious" actually traces its origin back to Reed's days with the Velvet Underground. Picking up bits and pieces of songs from the people and places around him, and filing his notes for later use, Reed said it was Andy Warhol who provided fuel for the song. "He said, 'Why don't you write a song called 'Vicious,'" Reed told Rolling Stone in 1989. "And I said, 'What kind of vicious?' 'Oh, you know, vicious like I hit you with a flower.' And I wrote it down literally."

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