John Bradbury, Drummer for the Specials

“Ghost Town”

John Bradbury (February 16, 1953-December 28, 2015) was a drummer for the Specials, a ska revival  and 2-tone band that formed in Thatcher-era England. 2-tone is a brand of ska that links traditional ska rhythms with a punk attitude, merging two musical trends of the time. “If you were 12 in 1979, the Specials were easy peasy lemon squeezy the best band on the planet,” writes Mark Lamarr in his bio of the band on the group’s official website.


The Specials, in their retro ’60s “nice boy” haircuts and clothes, managed to merge upbeat-sounding and danceable tunes with biting commentary about the bleak futures for UK youth as the Conservative Party pursued its “tough love” economic policies.

“Guns of Navarone,” Live, 2012

“Too Much Too Young” and “Ghost Town” both hit #1 in the UK before the group disbanded in 1981. Bradbury carried on the band’s tradition with a slimmed down version of the group, the Specials AKA, and started his own project JB Allstars, which focused on Northern soul.