Monday, June 1, 2020

A new sound from The Specials peaks at UK #5

The Specials : Rat Race

On June 1, 1980 The Specials' single "Rat Race" b/w "Rude Boys Outa Jail" peaked at #5 on the UK charts. Perhaps the song, about the way rich college students can get away with anything, would have charted higher had the BBC not banned the video. But they took exception at Jerry Dammers' portrayal of a toothless headmistress playing keyboards. Tame stuff by today's standards. 

The song was written by guitarist Roddy Radiator, but has elements of a film score in the intro. Dammers had reportedly become more interested in film scores and instrumental schlock. 

Terry Hall told Smash Hits:

We've been listening to a lot of things like John Barry albums. There's so many good theme tunes around that are just wasted. Like one of my favorite songs is "The Third Man" theme.

There would be more examples on the forthcoming More Specials, including "The International Jet Set".

The B side was quickly written in the studio and credited to 'Neville Staple AKA Judge Roughneck', the band's toasting singer.  

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