Broadcaster Adrian Goldberg and Daniel Rachel
Discussing Daniel's new book ‘Too Much Too Young’
November 30th, 2023
In 1979 Coventry was certainly an exciting place to be. I had just left school and on the face of it, Coventry had little to offer culturally, with a recession biting deep into the local industry and far right groups on the rise, then, as now. Then along came 2 Tone and changed all of that. Suddenly Coventry was centre stage, THE place to be and to be from. For once I felt that I was at the epicentre.
That 2 Tone was built on Jamaican ska rhythms infused with UK punk energy made it all the more unique. No one had done that before. That it encompassed a fight back against all that we felt and feared about far right knuckleheads from the National Front (a pre cursor to UKIP and their ilk) strutting around our streets, was summed up brilliantly by the banner of 2 Tone and its simple but powerful checkerboard black and white iconography.
2 Tone was a record label, it was a collective of bands, you could dance to it, but more than that, it was a multiracial movement that quickly swept the country and soon after, the world. The charts were taken over by 2 Tone bands, all of which rapidly became household names – The Specials, Madness, The Beat, The Selecter. Ska came out of every radio and television in the country. 2 Tone was not only a multiracial music movement, but also fought against the misogyny of the music business, The Body Snatchers were an all girl band and Pauline Black fronted The Selecter, not as a fluffy, pouting sex symbol, but as a powerful, dominant and iconic voice and equal of any male performers.
Best of all for me, coming from Coventry, that was where it all started, and with the iconic Specials single ‘Ghost Town’ summing up the sad state of the city (and the country) in 1981, that was where it all finished too – effectively the end of the ‘golden era’ of 2 Tone. Over those three short years it proved that music still had the power to galvanise a generation and change attitudes. The amazing thing is that 43 years on, 2 Tone still has the same appeal and relevance today. Impending, is a major 2 Tone inspired BBC drama series from Stephen Knight, This Town; and the music and culture of the era still features regularly in documentaries and playlists and its history and impact is still felt and is being catalogued and celebrated in books like Daniel Rachel’s ‘Too Much Too Young’.
That 2 Tone mattered is undeniable. It may even have contributed to the pressure to free Nelson Mandela from prison, ushering in a democratic and apartheid free South Africa, and a million new bands across the globe are still inspired by it.
There is an opportunity to hear award-winning music author, Daniel Rachel discuss the unlikely but amazing history of 2 Tone, captured in his new book, ‘Too Much Too Young’ when he talks to DJ broadcaster Adrian Goldberg on 30th November at the Rock & Roll Brewery, in Daniel's home town of Birmingham (booking details in the link below).
It will be a great night and if you don’t leave thinking how great it would have been to have been young and in Coventry at that time, then you just might need to check yo' head.
Adrian Goldberg and Daniel Rachel in Discussion Tickets from Eventbrite »»