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twotonetess
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Post subject: Ghost Town - Post-Industrial Decline Reply with quote

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01ndkxs

Ghost Town was certainly one of the strangest and bleakest number one singles ever. And yet its success was no doubt due to the fact that it chimed perfectly with the times: providing a perfect soundtrack to the riots of 1981 and to Britain's general urban decay. In fact, Jerry Dammers' song seemed almost to be reportage; Dammers himself said he wanted to convey the sense of impending doom that was felt nation-wide. Rock writer Jo Ann Greene said of Ghost Town that the lyrics "only brush on the causes for this apocalyptic vision - the closed down clubs, the numerous fights on the dance floor, the spiralling unemployment, the anger building to explosive levels. But so embedded were these in the British psyche, that Dammers needed only a minimum of words to paint his picture."

Although the single was released on the ground-breaking 2-Tone label, the idealism of racial unity and equality the label (and indeed the band) embodied seemed to be purely a pipe-dream at that point in time. That utopian ideal didn't seem to be widely prevalent in the UK in the early '80s, particularly in places like Brixton, Toxteth or Bristol. The nation did feel doomed. Unemployment was rife. Britain burned and riots were happening all across the country. But the people of Coventry (the Specials' home town) were less than impressed that their home was the inspiration for this huge, but bleak, hit single.

The Specials released probably the strangest, most haunting evocation of a very particular time in British history. Were you one of the millions of unemployed at that time? Did you feel that Coventry had been misrepresented? The People's Songs wants to hear from you...
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Looks like a case of the blind leading the deaf to me
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Thu Apr 07, 2016 11:16 am
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Trojan
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Post subject: Re: Ghost Town - Post-Industrial Decline Reply with quote

twotonetess wrote:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01ndkxs

But the people of Coventry (the Specials' home town) were less than impressed that their home was the inspiration for this huge, but bleak, hit single.



In all the years since the release of Ghost Town I have never read or heard of anyone from Coventry, or anywhere else for that matter, saying that the felt slighted that by the fact that Ghost Town painted such a bleak picture of their city.

As Dammers has repeatedly stated the inspiration for the song came from the poverty he witnessed whilst traveling the length and breadth of Britain.
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Thu Apr 07, 2016 11:45 am
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kennybacon
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I think Sunderland and somewhere else (not Coventry) was the main inspiration, I'm sure I heard that not so long ago on something - might of been a post on here even
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Thu Apr 07, 2016 6:02 pm
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kennybacon
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Glasgow - according to this:
http://www.theguardian.com/culture/2002/mar/08/artsfeatures.popandrock

Everyone was getting under pressure and the band was getting tired," says Dammers. "It wasn't just that, the country was falling apart. You travelled from town to town and what was happening was terrible. In Liverpool, all the shops were shuttered up, everything was closing down. Margaret Thatcher had apparently gone mad, she was closing down all the industries, throwing millions of people on the dole. We could actually see it by touring around. You could see that frustration and anger in the audience. In Glasgow, there were these little old ladies on the streets selling all their household goods, their cups and saucers. It was unbelievable. It was clear that something was very, very wrong."

Inspired by the scenes Dammers had glimpsed in Glasgow, Ghost Town was powered by despair and anger at everything from the state of the nation ("Government leaving the youth on the shelf," intoned Neville Staples, his voice gloomy and thick with West Indian patois, "no job to be found in this country") to the Specials' decision to quit touring: "bands won't play no more, too much fighting on the dancefloor".
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Thu Apr 07, 2016 6:10 pm
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