"2 TONE" Record Label was founded by JERRY DAMMERS of the Ska revival band THE SPECIALS back in 1979 who wanted to create his own Motown Records in Coventry. It spawned the 2 Tone music and cultural movement back then and 1979 also saw Ska explode into UK's music scene which was popular among skinheads, rudies and some mod revivalists and leading the wave was the band called "The Specials". This is "The Dr. Stirring Rhod Way" of remembering this Legendary and Influential Record Label called "2 Tone". Hmmmp? I guess that's two tones of colors right? BLACK and WHITE I may say!! Only here on "The Doctor Is In" and so I hope you'll enjoy another trip down memory lane. Basically, the first time I became aware of 2 TONE was back in 1985-1987 when I heard their artists being played by WXB 102 back then. I guess we can say that all these artists were introduced here in MANILA by WXB 102. Btw, if we are talking about WXB 102 here in my blog, we are talking about the Legendary FM Radio station DWXB 102.7 back in the 80s. PINOY NEW WAVERS/PUNKS definitely know "THE SPECIALS" because of "TERRY HALL" who was also the lead vocalist of "FUN BOY THREE" and "THE COLOURFIELD". The label also launched the careers of MADNESS, THE SELECTER, and THE BEAT but all three bands left within two years. 2 Tone Records acts signed a contract that allowed them to leave the label after releasing just one single which was very unusual in the record industry. Madness and The Beat both took advantage of this clause wherein Madness signed to Stiff Records while The Beat who would be called "ENGLISH BEAT" started their own record label called "Go Feet Records". On the otherhand, The Selecter announced they were leaving 2-Tone to sign directly with Chyrsalis Records. The band explained their move and released a statement that "Every 2-Tone single has reached the charts. This is a situation which The Selecter feels is ultimately stiffling new talent, leading bands to feel that they need to stereotype themselves into what they believe to be the 2-Tone sound." 2 Tone scored seven hit singles, a top-ten album, and a sell-out UK tour and that's all within its first year. Wheeew!! That's an achievement for a new record label back then. The 2 Tone Artists usually tackle social issues, unemployment and racism through their music. Although 2 Tone Records was closely identified with the ska revival, efforts were made to broaden the label's musical output thus releasing recordings by artists such as singer-songwriter Elvis Costello and the funk-punk band The Higsons. Two bands that almost made it onto the label were UB40 and Dexys Midnight Runners. The label closed and stopped operating in 1986.

Jerry Dammers with the assistance of Horace Panter were both responsible for the creation of the artwork that was to become central to 2 Tone Records. The Walt Jabsco logo portrays a man in a black suit, white shirt, black tie, pork pie hat, white socks and black loafers. The fictional character was based on a photograph of Peter Tosh, a former member of The Wailers.

"THE 2 TONE STORY" Compilation

"THE 2 TONE STORY" was a 23 Track History of 2 Tone CD album that runs up to 80 minutes of great music featuring hits from the greatest names of the record label such as The Specials, Bad Manners, The Selecter, The Beat, Madness, Special AKA, & Rico released back in 1989. This was on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the release of "Gangsters" by "The "Specials". Chrysalis saw it fit to mark the occasion and of course to get some more cash by releasing "The 2 Tone Story" compilation of the label's achievements over the previous 10 years. I bought the Cassette Tape and the CD formats and passed out on the Double Vinyl Record release. The Vinyl Record release has 26 tracks while the CD and Cassette which I got have only 23 Tracks in it. One side of the double vinyl version consists entirely of Live material previously available on the Dance Craze album and marks yet another outing for Bad Manners on the chequered label. This compilation album failed to offer any unreleased material with the exception of a live version of Stereotype but it does offer a comprehensive example of the labels output throughout their existence. Even though It included the label's artists, bands such as "The Higsons", "The Swinging Cats","The Appolinaires", and "The Friday Club" were absent on the compilation although the collection of tracks covers that period of the labels history in the form of Racist Friend and War Crimes. The Tracklist for the CD release of the album was shortened to exclude the likes of "The Boiler", "Racist Friend" and the "Live Version of Stereotype" to accommodate the album on a Single CD release because if these three tracks were included then it will be a Double CD. This saved Chrysalis the cost of producing a Double CD package at that time but definitely I would rather have the three songs included so as not to really disturb the entire tracklist which was originally conceptualized. I first bought the tape before deciding to buy the CD too. If you still have the chance to buy the Vinyl Format of this compilation then that would be terrific. I don't have a large number of 2 Tone Materials in my modest music collection but this CD compilation just blew me up because It was a great treat for me listening and getting to learn about the record label and their artists. A compilation that must be also included in your music collection just to remind you of what "2 Tone" means. Another great compilation that you can enjoy listening from Tracks 1 to 23. Even though mp3s are a household name nowadays, as a collector I still prefer the physical thing if you are talking about music.

I compiled photos of all the 2 Tone Artists included in "The 2 Tone Story" CD and after each photos I included some bits of Visual Documentary that you might want to watch too.









I made my "The 2 Tone Story" CD available for download just in case you still don't have a copy and you wanna have one. It's for your listening pleasure okay.


1. The Selecter - The Selecter
2. Gangsters - The Special A.K.A.
3. The Prince - Madness
4. On My Radio - The Selecter
5. Rudi, A Message To You - The Selecter (featuring Rico)
6. Ranking Full Stop - The Beat
7. Ruder Than You - The Bodysnatchers
8. That Man Is Forward - Rico
9. Blank Expression - The Specials
10. Too Much Pressure (Live)- The Selecter
11. Lip Up Fatty (Live) - Bad Manners
12. Too Much Too Young (Live) - The Specials
13. Mirror In The Bathroom (Live) - The Beat
14. Three Minute Hero (Live) - The Selecter
15. One Step Beyon (Live) - Madness
16. Do Nothing - The Specials (Featuring Rico)
17. International Jet Set - The Specials
18. Easter Island - Rico
19. Why? - The Specials
20. Ghost Town - The Specials (featuring Rico)
21. War Crimes - The Special A.K.A.
22. Nelson Mandela - The Special A.K.A.
23. Destroy Them - Rico


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There was also a book entitled "The Two Tone Story" written by George Marshall and It first appeared as a 32 page A5 effort in 1987 through the authors Zoot fanzine. In 1990 the book was expanded upon and printed commercially in A4 format, again via Zoot. In 1993 the book was reproduced yet again as part of the Compact 2 Tone Story. Although George Marshall was obviously delighted to have his work included in an official 2 Tone release, Jerry Dammers was less than impressed with the concept of the box set and was quite dismissive of the whole project. Up to date, "The Two Tone Story" book is still the best definitive publication on the label in existence and this was subsequently published in a smaller square format but has been out of print for some time.

I guess that's all folks for today's 2 Tone Story blogpost. Wheeew!! I finally finished this blogpost. Ha Ha Ha!! For the love of music and blogging so why not coconut? I will try to feature all 2 Tone Artists here in my little blog in the future so just stay tune okay. Hope you ENJOYED your stay!! THANKS for dropping by!!

That was
......THE 2 TONE STORY!!


randybazooka said...

Hey doc great article on 2 tone..they have lots of interesting artists under the label especially this 2 tone band that could have been a hit in manila if wxb got wind of their existence, its called FRIDAY CLUB and their song "window shopping" that came out in '85, i have their 12" and there is a sample of it in you tube if you want to check it out.

DrStirringRhod said...

THANKS randy b.!! :-) I just added the band on the write-up. :-)