It is hard to believe that it has been 40 years since The Specials released their chart topping hit “Ghost Town’.
Arguably the most famous song to have come out of Coventry, for many, it will feel like yesterday it was released.
It became an anthem, and topped the charts for four weeks in 1981, introducing the rest of the world to the 2-Tone movement.
A lot of people mistakenly think the song is just about Coventry, but it was actually about the urban decay of a whole nation.
It was a song about Glasgow and Liverpool just as much as it was about Coventry, but regardless, has kept feet tapping and heads bobbing for the past 40 years.
And now, a special exhibition, ‘Ghost Town 2 Host Town’ will be held at Coventry’s Music Museum this summer.
‘Ghost Town 2 Host Town’ exhibition
The ‘Ghost Town 2 Host Town’ exhibition will be held at Coventry’s Music Museum, on Walsgrave Road.
It will track the city and its boom time in its post-Second World War days – from being a dominant player as a motor city, to the sad decline of the car industry and its relevance to the Ghost Town effect.
And it will look at the city’s resurgence with our win as the UK City of Culture.
And the museum has said there will be some familiar characters making an appearance for the event.
This includes a “very special character well known to Ska fans”, who will be there to air his opinions at all times, and the last surviving remnant of the iconic Parson’s Nose chip shop as immortalised in the Specials song ‘Friday Night, Saturday Morning’.
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The exhibition will also focus on Coventry’s impact on the global music scene.
It will look at how Cov’s own Panjabi MC got his song, ‘Mundian To Bach Ke’, on the list of the world’s bestselling singles of all time, and how the city had a hand in creating the Prog Rock and the Grindcore genres.
The 2 Tone sound originated in Coventry’s thriving music scene of the 1970s. Its name derives from the legendary 2 Tone record label founded in 1979 by Jerry Dammers of The Specials, referencing a desire to transcend and defuse racial tensions in Britain at that time.
Director Curator Dr.Pete Chambers BEM said: “We hope 2021 will be our time to show the world just how amazing Coventry is as a place of music, from Delia Derbyshire and producer Tony Clarke to the 2-Tone movement and Pete Waterman who has sold over 500 million records. I believe that this is our best ever exhibition, one that celebrates a Coventry musical icon in Ghost Town and looks to our future as an international City of Culture.”
The Coventry Music Museum has now been running for eight years and is home to the original Ghost Town car (as seen in the chart -topping video for the song) and the very organ Jerry Dammers wrote and recorded Ghost Town on.
The ‘Ghost Town 2 Host Town’ exhibition will begin when the museum opens its doors on May 20.
Coventry Music Museum is based at 74-80 Walsgrave Road, Coventry, CV2 4ED.
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