Release Date: 24th September 2021

Transparent Yellow Vinyl x1 / Cat no. 3840705

What makes a protest song? The Specials should know. First time around, back when the 70s were lurching into the 80s, they sang of racism, war, unemployment and the rough edges of urban life, and never in the same way twice. As the multiracial flagship of the 2 Tone movement, they made a political statement every time they stepped on stage. June 2021 saw the 40th anniversary of their last and greatest protest song, Ghost Town, a record that will retain its eerie power as long as there are concrete jungles, empty dancehalls and desperate spasms of violence.

It’s fitting, then, that in 2021 the Specials are releasing Protest Songs 1924-2012, an unpredictable collection of unique takes which celebrates the long history and endless versatility of the form, from folk to post-punk, from righteous uplift to biting satire, and from Kingston to Alabama. It’s a potent reminder that there are no fixed rules to templates for a protest song. All that’s required is the combination of something that needs to be said with music that needs to be heard. “People have been using music as a vehicle for protest since time immemorial,” says bass player Horace Panter. “Injustice is timeless.”


1. Freedom Highway
2. Everybody Knows
3. I Don’t Mind Failing in This World
4. Black, Brown and White
5. Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Us Around
6. Fuck All the Perfect People
7. My Next Door Neighbour
8. Trouble Every Day
9. Listening Wind
10. Soldiers Who Want to Be Heroes
11. I Live in a City
12. Get Up, Stand Up