The Specials, 'Ghost Town'

Thirty years ago today, 2 Tone ska kings The Specials released their landmark single “Ghost Town,” a haunting soundtrack to England’s early-’80s economic despair and civil unrest. The song, which hit No. 1 on the U.K. singles chart, also effectively capped the recording career of the original Specials lineup.

As a look back at this highly unlikely and somewhat creepy pop hit, we offer, below, the band’s official music video for the track, plus its July 9, 1981, appearance on “Top of the Pops,” a live version (audio only) recorded Aug. 23, 1981, in Toronto and, finally, the reunited band’s performance of the song last year at Royal Albert Hall.

For a more in-depth look at the track, the BBC spoke to members of the now-reunited band (as well as original songwriter Jerry Dammers), and the always-excellent ska blog Marco on the Bass delves into “the story behind the iconic song.”

See video of The Specials performing ‘Ghost Town’ after the jump…

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