Born OTD in 1959, Happy 60th Birthday to Terry Hall. “We didn’t realise we were playing ‘ska’ – we grew up in a heavily Jamaican populated area, and we were referencing music we grew up with. We once played a gig to skinheads and found our audience by accident. We did venture to London, but none of the record companies were interested. They didn’t know who we were, so we formed our own label in Coventry” – Terry Hall.

Ska originated in Jamaica in the late Fifties and combined Caribbean mento and calypso with American jazz and rnb. Ska … More

“Between 1976-81, I collaborated with David (Widgery), in the organisation Rock Against Racism.. The music came first and was more exciting. It provided the creative energy and the focus in what became a battle for the hearts and minds of young working-class Britian” Ruth Gregory (Hastings).

An anthology of conversations and essays, memories and commentary from the heyday of British pop music writing. In its heyday, … More

Born OTD in 1953, reggae drummer of The Specials, John ‘Brad’ Bradbury. Brad played a crucial role in the history of the Specials, the still massively successful multiracial band that first shook up the British music scene in the late 1970s & early 80s by mixing Jamaican ska with punk energy, a bravely political stance & good humour. They were that rarity, a thoughtful band who created great dance music, & Brad was central to their distinctive style. According to the band’s bass player, Horace Panter: “He called his approach ‘attack drumming’ & it became the Specials’ signature sound. He mixed the drive of northern soul with a reggae feel. And he improvised. He was different every night.”

Against the backdrop of the demise of punk, social unrest, and the coming to power of Margaret Thatcher, the Specials … More

MOD ART is the definitive work on everything visual relating to Mod culture, the look that has never gone out of style. Featuring exclusive interviews with key artists and experts on the cult of Mod, MOD ART examines the art scene surrounding the birth of modernism in the UK in the 1960s and explains how the collision of high art, mass culture and sharp fashion produced a unique visual perspective on the way we dress, what we look at and the way we perceive design.

Beautifully illustrated with a treasure trove of colour photographs of famous, rediscovered and rare images from across the eras, MOD … More

Mod has its roots in in London with a group of young men in the late Fifties who were known as modernists because they listened to modern jazz. A Pocket Guide to Mod covers fashion including the use of the Union Flag and RAF roundel; music including bands such as The Who, Small Faces and Yardbirds who were associated with the music and locations such as The Eel Pie Island Hotel at Twickenham near London; amphetamines, the mod drug of choice that fuelled marathon all-night dancing; and scooters including Vespas and Lambrettas often highly customised.

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Dead Kennedys routinely top both critic and fan polls as the greatest punk band of their generation. Their debut full-length, Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables, in particular, is regularly voted among the top albums in the genre. Fresh Fruit offered a perfect hybrid of humor and polemic strapped to a musical chassis that was as tetchy and inventive as Jello Biafra’s withering broadsides. Those lyrics, cruel in their precision, were revelatory. But it wouldn’t have worked if the underlying sonics were not such an uproarious rush, the paraffin to Biafra’s naked flame.

Dead Kennedys’ continuing influence is an extraordinary achievement for a band that had practically zero radio play and only released … More

Trojan Records epitomised the punk DIY ethic over a decade before ’76. With a blizzard of individual labels, a marketing strategy that involved selling product out of the backs of vans, the company spearheaded the injection of reggae & ska into the vein of British youth consciousness.

In its first brief six-year incarnation, Trojan produced nearly 30 hit singles, created the legendary compilation series Tighten Up and … More