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2 Tone (music genre)

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Title: 2 Tone (music genre)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Mod revival, Rude boy, The Prince (song), Reggae, Blue Beat Records
Collection: 20Th-Century Music Genres, English Styles of Music, Fusion Music Genres, New Wave Music, Punk Rock Genres, Reggae Genres, Ska, Skinhead
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

2 Tone (music genre)

2 Tone (or Two Tone) was a late-1970s ska revival in the United Kingdom led by Jerry Dammers and The Specials. It fused traditional ska music with punk rock attitude, energy and musical elements.[1][2] Its name came from the record label that Dammers founded, 2 Tone Records as well as a desire to transcend and defuse racial tensions in Thatcher-era Britain. Although 2 Tone's mainstream commercial appeal was largely limited to the UK, it influenced the North American ska punk movement (also known as third wave ska) in the 1980s and 1990s.[3][4]


  • History 1
    • Museum 1.1
  • Notes 2
  • References 3
  • Further reading 4
  • External links 5


The Selecter in 1980
Coventry Music Wall of Fame inductees, December 2011

The 2 Tone sound was developed by young musicians in Coventry, West Midlands, England who grew up hearing 1960s Jamaican music.[5] They combined influences from ska, reggae and rocksteady with elements of punk rock and new wave. Bands considered part of the genre include: The Specials, The Selecter, The Beat, Madness, Bad Manners and The Bodysnatchers.[3]

The term was coined by The Specials' keyboard player Jerry Dammers, who — with the assistance of Horace Panter and graphic designer John "Teflon" Sims — created the iconic Walt Jabsco logo (a man in a black suit, white shirt, black tie, pork pie hat, white socks and black loafers) to represent the 2 Tone genre. The logo was based on an early album cover photo of Peter Tosh, and included an added black-and-white check pattern.[6][7][8]

Most of the bands considered to be part of the 2 Tone genre were signed to 2 Tone Records at some point. Other record labels associated with the 2 Tone sound were Stiff Records and Go Feet Records. The music was especially popular among skinheads, rudies and some mod revivalists.


On 1 October 2010, the 2-Tone Central museum, cafe and venue opened in the Coventry University Students' Union building, and by August 2011, it was moved to the 2-Tone Village in Stoke, Coventry.[9] It includes exhibition space, the Coventry Music Wall of Fame,[10][11][12][13] a cafe, a gift shop, a Caribbean restaurant and a music venue. Many of the items on display are on loan from members of The Selecter, The Beat and The Specials.


  1. ^ "Ska Revival". AllMusic. 
  2. ^ Chris Woodstra. "The Specials". AllMusic. 
  3. ^ a b , "A brief history of ska" Sunday, 23 March 2008San Francisco ChronicleSelvin, Joel,
  4. ^ "Third Wave Ska Revival". AllMusic. 
  5. ^ "Jerry Dammers interview by Alexis Petrides", Mojo, Jan. 2002. Accessed on 18 October 2007
  6. ^ Horace Panter (2007). Ska'd For Life.  
  7. ^ Staple, Neville. Original Rude Boy. Aurum Press, 2009
  8. ^ "British ska legends The Specials. History, lyrics, MP3, 2 Tone, two tone, ska, Jerry Dammers, Terry Hall, Neville Staple, Roddy Byers, Lynval Golding, Horace Panter, John Brad Bradbury". Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  9. ^ "2-TONE CENTRAL-The 2-Tone Museum, Cafe and Venue, Coventry". Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  10. ^ Chambers, Pete (20 October 2011). "Music Legends Honoured on Coventry's Wall of Fame".  
  11. ^ Carpenter, Steve (22 November 2011). "Three more names on Coventry Music Wall of Fame". Coventry Observer. Retrieved 24 November 2011. 
  12. ^ Manger, Warren (6 December 2011). "Wall of Fame honours more stars who put Coventry on the music map".  
  13. ^ Bagot, Martin (6 December 2011). "Coventry music heroes honoured in Wall of Fame".  


Further reading

  • Williams, Paul You're Wondering Now-The Specials From Conception to Reunion (Cherry Red Books, 2009) ISBN 978-1-901447-51-4
  • Marshall, George, The Two Tone Story, ST Publishing, 1992, ISBN 0-9518497-3-5
  • Chambers, Pete, Coventry Market in a Round About Way (Tencton Planet Publications, 2009) ISBN 978-0-9544125-7-9
  • Chambers, Pete, The 2-Tone Trail: The Roots of Two-tone Music (Tencton Planet Publications, 2005) ISBN 978-0-9544125-3-1
  • Thompson, Dave, Wheels Out Of Gear: 2-Tone, The Specials and a World In Flame (Soundcheck Books, 2011) ISBN 978-0-9566420-2-8

External links

  • 2 Tone Information - 2 Tone Records, collectors information
  • 2-Tone Central - Museum, cafe and music venue
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