Ska and Two Tone are two interconnected genres of music that originated in the late 1970s in the UK. These genres fused Jamaican ska, rocksteady and reggae music with elements of punk rock and new wave music. The music was intended to transcend and defuse racial tensions in Thatcher-era Britain. Ska and Two Tone experienced a revival in the late 1990s in the US and continue to have a devoted following to this day. In this article, we will explore the origins, history and evolution of Ska and Two Tone from 1977 to 2023.
Origins of Ska and Two Tone
Ska music originated in Jamaica in the late 1950s as a hybrid sound that owed much of its success to the popularity of its influences. It was a genre commonly known as the music of the people and was formally birthed in 1959. As the genre gained momentum and popularity, it migrated to the UK in the 1970s, where it would eventually give rise to Two Tone.
Two Tone music, named after the record label 2 Tone Records, was founded in 1979 by Jerry Dammers of The Specials. The label’s mission was to transcend and defuse racial tensions in Thatcher-era Britain by bringing together black and white musicians and fans. The music was a fusion of ska, reggae, punk and new wave. The movement included bands like The Specials, The Beat, Madness, and The Selecter, among others.
Evolution of Ska and Two Tone
The late 1970s and early 1980s saw the peak of the popularity of Two Tone music. Bands like The Specials, The Beat, Madness, and The Selecter gained a massive following both in the UK and abroad. The music’s political and social message resonated with fans, and the genre would go on to influence a new generation of musicians.
In the 1990s, Ska and Two Tone experienced a revival in the US. Bands like No Doubt, Sublime, and Reel Big Fish emerged and brought the music to a new generation of fans. While these bands had a different sound and style, they paid homage to the original Ska and Two Tone bands and continued the legacy of the music.
From the 2000s to the present day, Ska and Two Tone continue to have a devoted following. The original bands still tour and record new music, and the genre has continued to influence new bands across the world. Bands like The Interrupters, The Skints, and The Slackers have emerged and continue to keep the music alive.
Ska and Two Tone are two genres of music that emerged in the late 1970s and continue to have a significant influence on music today. They originated in the UK, but their impact has been felt around the world. The music’s fusion of genres and social and political message has resonated with fans for decades, and its legacy continues to inspire new musicians. From its origins in Jamaica to its revival in the US and beyond, Ska and Two Tone have left an indelible mark on music and culture.