2 Tone

Emerging from the Midlands cities of Coventry and Birmingham in the late seventies the movement known as 2 Tone presented a mix of the punk spirit of recent years alongside a love of late sixties ska and reggae. Style wise the scene revived elements of the original skinheads but leant more heavily on the influence of the Jamaican rudeboy look that had earlier inspired it with tonic suits, button down shirts, tassled loafers and pork pie hats. The 2 Tone scene was named after the record label set up by its instigators and greatest exponents The Specials. Sound and vision wise the scene was developed by the bands keyboard player Jerry Dammers whose love of early ska was mixed with the energy of punk to create a hybrid that perfectly fit the times. Politically aware, a sharp songwriter and with strong understanding of the visual (he was an ex art student) Dammers created a scene that nurtured other bands (via the 2 tone label they set up) and created a look that perfectly represented the idea of a multi-racial Britain at a time when right wing politics and economic uncertainty plagued the nation.