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The original band name of the Specials

The story of the Specials is well covered on the internet - 

"The group was formed in 1977 by songwriter/keyboardist Jerry Dammers, with Tim Strickland (vocals), Lynval
Golding (guitar, vocals), Silverton Hutchinson (drums), and Horace Panter, a.k.a. Sir Horace Gentleman, (bass). Strickland was replaced by Terry Hall shortly after the band's formation. The band was first called The Automatics, then The Coventry Automatics. Vocalist Neville Staple and guitarist Roddy Byers, a.k.a.Roddy Radiation, joined the band the following year, and the band changed its name to The Special AKA, The Coventry Automatics, and then to The Special AKA. Joe Strummer of The Clash had attended one of their concerts, and invited The Special AKA to open for his band in their On Parole UK Tour. This performance gave The Special AKA a new level of national exposure, and they briefly shared The Clash's management." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Specials

From Original Rude Boy - Neville Staples p101

c 1977
"Standing at the door of that rehearsal room in the Holyhead youth Club, I found myself staring at five very different people - including a bass player called Horace Panter. He'd been nick-named Horace ' Gentleman' by guitarist Lynval Golding, who was also present.

On drums was Silverton Hutchinson, a guy from Barbados...On vocals that day was a bloke called Tim Strickland - a sort of James Dean looky-likey who was reading the lyrics to the songs on a piece of paper. Terry Hall would soon replace him.

Finally, the leader of the pack was Jerry Dammers, on an old, battered Hammond organ type contraption...Together they were The Automatics - not yet the band that would dominate the charts 1979 - 80. This was 1977 - they were struggling to get their sound and look right. I instantly offered my services as roadie"

From Original Rude Boy - Neville Staples p116
" Having got a support slot with the Clash, Jerry now had a little problem. It turned out there was another band called the Automatics and through their lawyers, they were demanding we change our name. There was a lot of agonising over what name to adopt - we were briefly the Coventry Automatics but then that was dropped. The Special AKA The Coventry Automatics proved too much of a mouthful, so, after shortening that to The Special AKA, it was finaly decided to go for The Specials - The legend was born."

More on Marco the Bass site here 
"The story behind the recordings dates back to 1978 when a six piece band called The Automatics travelled to London to record a number of demo tapes with the intention of securing a record deal with a major British record label. The group, consisting of Jerry Dammers on keyboards, Lynval Golding on rhythm guitar and backing vocals, Roddy "Radiation" Byers on lead guitar, 'Sir' Horace Panter on bass, Silverton Hutchinson on drums and Terry Hall providing lead vocals, laid down a total of thirteen songs."

Coventry Automatics - Canley College 1978 - photo via Paul Willo.

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