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2 Tone: The Sound Of Coventry (BBC Two Sat 21 May 2022)



The musical phenomenon 2 Tone exploded out of Coventry onto music charts all over the world in the summer of 1979. Jerry Dammers, the founder and keyboard player of The Specials and the architect of 2 Tone, was responsible for the genre’s distinct look and sound, which was heavily influenced by 1960s Jamaica.

The Specials and fellow Coventry band The Selecter were the pioneers of 2 Tone in their hometown. Madness and The Beat both got their start at the record label.

Jerry Dammers reveals how he came up with the ideas that led to the 2 Tone revolution in a rare interview. Jerry’s Specials bandmate Neville Staple, Pauline Black, and Neol Davies of The Selecter, proud Coventrian Pete Waterman, and 2 Tone fan and film director Gurinder Chadha all appear in the film.

Neville Staple and Neol Davies recall significant rehearsals, gigs, and photoshoots in original Coventry locations that have long since changed use; The Locarno, once the heart of Coventry nightlife and the site of raucous gigs, is now the Central Library. The documentary explores 2 Tone’s call for black and white unity, which is still relevant today after 40 years, thanks to rarely seen archive and an integral and uplifting soundtrack.

2 Tone: The Sound Of Coventry is produced by Full Fat Television for the BBC.

Airdate: Saturday 21 May 2022 at 10.45pm on BBC Two.