The Specials (sometimes called The Special AKA ) are an English 2 Tone ska revival band formed in 1977 in Coventry, England. Their music combines a "danceable ska and rocksteady beat with punk's energy and attitude", and had a "more focused and informed political and social stance" than other ska groups. The band wore mod-style "1960s period rude boy outfits (pork pie hats, tonic and mohair suits, and loafers)." In 1980, the song "Too Much Too Young", the lead track on their The Special AKA Live! EP, reached number one in the UK. In 1981, the unemployment-themed single "Ghost Town" also hit number one in the UK Singles Chart. After seven consecutive UK Top 10 singles between 1979 and 1981, the band broke up. Their 1984 song "(Free) Nelson Mandela" was a No. 9 UK hit. It contributed to making Mandela a cause célèbre in the United Kingdom, and became popular with anti-Apartheid activists.
Afterwards, founder and songwriter Jerry Dammers dissolved the band and pursued political activism.