Okay, so I didn’t hear this one on the radio. Our son came home one day having bought the CD, The Specials Greatest Hits. I didn’t even realise he knew who The Specials were!
I’ve listened to the album a couple of times (when I can get my hands on it). I love it, it takes me right back to the UK ska I love but have heard little of for a long time.
the specials aka the specials aka
The Specials brought something new. They were, as far as I can remember, the first band to produce that wonderful blend of punk and reggae that we call (well, I call) ska. Of course, they weren’t the first ska band – but in bringing it to the UK they added elements that were fresh and new (and loud and rocky and full of horns).
By 1979, when A Message to You, Rudy was released, the ska resurgence was huge in the UK. In fact, on November 8 of that year three ska bands appeared on the same episode of Top of the Pops – The Specials, Madness and The Selecter. It’s often said that that day is the day UK ska stopped being a cult and become a music sensation.
not a specials original
A Message to You, Rudy is not a Specials original. It was originally released in 1967 by Dandy Livingstone. It achieved success with The Specials in 1979.
a message to you, rudy fax
- A Message to You, Rudy was originally released in 1964 by Dandy Livingstone.
- A Message to You, Rudy peaked at #10 on the UK singles chart in 1979.
- Trombone player Rico Rodriguez played on both The Specials’ version and Dandy Livingstone’s version of the song.
- The song was originally about social unrest amongst the youth in Kingston, Jamaica. The Specials release was a comment on the UK in the late 1970s, a time of dissatisfaction in the UK political arena that led to a series of strikes and what came to be known as the 1978-79 Winter of Discontent.
- “Rudy” (or Rudi, Rude boy) is a Jamaican term for criminal juveniles.
- Technically, A Message to You, Rudy is a rocksteady song. Rocksteady is a music genre that originated in Jamaica around 1966. Bridging a music gap, it was a successor to ska and a precursor to reggae.
- A Message to You, Rudy lyrics.
a message to you, rudy video
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