The British ska-punk icons ran through renditions of their latest album’s “Vote for Me” and “Blam Blam Fever,” which is a cover by The Valentines, as well as their own 1979 hit “A Message to You, Rudy.” Encore is the first album of original songs by the Specials since 1998’s Guilty ’til Proved Innocent!
Formed in Coventry in the late 1970s, the Specials created a fusion of ska, punk, and new wave, later influencing artists like No Doubt and Sublime. Alongside their performance, the Specials’ original members guitarist Lynval Golding, bassist Horace Panter and lead singer Terry Hall sat down with host Anthony Mason to discuss how their biracial identities influenced their sound over the years.
“Coventry was a multi-racial city before multiracialism was invented, I think,” Panter told Mason, adding that the group “had this idea to fuse reggae with punk and it took about two or three years to finally decide on using ska as our starting point.”
Mason addressed the fact that the band ended up having their first No. 1 album in their home country on their 40th anniversary with Encore. “We decided we wanted to make a record about a week before the release where the record company was saying it was either going to be you or Hugh Jackman at No. 1. And it was like, what’s he got that we haven’t got? Then we knocked Hugh Jackman off of the charts,” said Hall.