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2 Tone

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2 Tone was the first revival of ska as it regained popularity in the late 1970s in Coventry, England. Many of the second wave ska bands were signed to a record label owned by Jerry Dammers of The Specials called 2 Tone Records, causing this unique subgenre of ska to be called “2 Tone”. 2 Tone combined the Jamaican melodies and rhythms with the rawness and aggression of punk rock. Compared to Jamaican ska, 2 Tone was faster, harder, and had fuller instrumentation. Many 2 Tone hits were actually just covers of songs by the original Jamaican ska artists, but it still became popular with skinheads, rudies and mod revivalists [1]. The late 70s were a time of racial tensions in Britain, and the 2 Tone movement helped promote racial unity through their music and multi-racial bands, such as The Specials, The Selecter, and The (English) Beat [1]. Other major 2 Tone bands included Madness, Bad Manners, and The Bodysnatchers. By the early 1980s, the popularity of 2 Tone had begun to fade, mostly as a result of the violence between the rude boys and skinheads that led to dance halls being wrecked and ska bands being blacklisted [2].


  1. 1.0 1.1 Massot, Joe, Dir. Dance Craze. Prod. Gavrik Losey. Perf. Buster Bloodvessel, Suggs, Jerry Dammers, and Terry Hall. Chrysalis Records, 1981. Videocassette.
  2. Vanhoof, Ian. "History of SKA." Web. 13 Nov. 2009. <>.
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