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2 Tone
Stylistic origins Ska - Punk - Reggae - New Wave - Rocksteady - Pop - Power pop
Cultural origins late 1970s in West Midlands, England
Typical instruments Guitar, Bass guitar, Keyboard, Trumpet, Trombone, saxophones, drums
Mainstream popularity Highest popularity from 1979 to 1984 in the United Kingdom;[1] some commercial success in North America and Europe
Derivative forms Third wave ska, Ska punk
Other topics
2 Tone Records

2 Tone (or Two Tone) is a music genre created in England in the late 1970s by fusing elements of ska, punk rock, rocksteady, reggae and pop. Within the history of ska music, it is classified as its second wave, the product of a time when the New Wave music of the early 1980s stirred nostalgia for vintage music.[1] 2 Tone is the musical precursor of the third wave ska scene of the 1990s.


The 2 Tone sound was developed by English musicians (mostly based in the West Midlands area) who grew up hearing 1960s Jamaican music and decided to play a similar style of music.[2] They combined 1960s ska with influences from contemporary punk and pop music. The new music genre (and associated subculture) became known as 2 Tone because most of the bands were signed to the record label 2 Tone Records at some point. Other record labels associated with the 2 Tone sound were Stiff Records and Go Feet Records. Bands considered part of the 2 Tone genre include: The Specials,[1], The Selecter, The Beat,[1] Madness,[1] Bad Manners and The Bodysnatchers.

The music term 2 Tone was coined by Jerry Dammers of The Specials. Dammers, with the assistance of Horace Panter, also created the Walt Jabsco logo to represent the 2 Tone movement. It was based on an early album cover photo of Peter Tosh, and included an added black-and-white check pattern.[3] [4]


  1. ^ a b c d e Selvin, Joel, San Francisco Chronicle, "A brief history of ska" Sunday, March 23, 2008
  2. ^ "Jerry Dammers interview by Alexis Petrides",Mojo magazine, Jan. 2002. Accessed on October 18, 2007
  3. ^ Panter, Horace:Ska'd For Life Sidgwick & Jackson, 2007
  4. ^ Staple, Neville:Original Rude Boy Aurum Press, 2009

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