Specials lead singer Terry Hall dies aged 63 following brief illness

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The Specials were formed in Hall’s home city of Coventry in 1977, by Jerry Dammers, Lynval Golding and Horace Panter – with Hall, Neville Staple, Roddy Byers and John Bradbury joining a year later.

The band were originally called The Automatics, before changing their name to The Coventry Automatics, The Specials AKA The Automatics and finally, in 1978, settling on The Specials.

The band made a name with their ska and rocksteady style, and for providing a musical backdrop to economic recession, urban decay and societal fracture in the early 1980s.

During their time together, The Specials produced a string of hit records including A Message To You, Rudy, Rat Race and Ghost Town, which reached number one.

The band split in 1981, after which Hall, Golding and Staple went on to form Fun Boy Three, while Dammers and Bradbury released an album under the moniker The Special AKA, which spawned the hit single Free Nelson Mandela in 1984.

Fun Boy Three achieved four UK top 10 singles during their time together, until Hall left the band in 1983 to form The Colourfield with ex-Swinging Cats members Toby Lyons and Karl Shale.

After undertaking a variety of solo and collaborative projects – Hall worked with the likes of Lily Allen – it was announced in 2008 that The Specials would be reforming for a number of tour dates and potential new music.

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