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Pauline Black performing with The Selecter in San Francisco in 2005

The Selecter were a 2 Tone ska revival band from Coventry, England, formed in mid 1979.

Like many other bands in the ska revival movement, The Selecter featured a racially diverse line-up. Their lyrics featured themes connected to politics and marijuana, set to strong melodies and a danceable beat. What set The Selecter apart from the other 2 Tone bands at the time, was the songs of Neol Davies, the voice of Pauline Black and the pumping rhythms of Desmond Brown on the Hammond organ. The band's name is based on the term "selector", which is a Jamaican word for disc jockey.

The line-up of The Selecter was at first just Neol Davies, John Bradbury (who later became a member of The Specials) and trombonist Barry Jones. The band name was also the title of their debut instrumental single, released as the b-side of the first 2 Tone Records single, "Gangsters vs.The Selecter", released in July 1979. The track was originally written as a possible theme tune to an ITV series. Pauline Black joined in August 1979, and the band released the singles "On My Radio", "Three Minute Hero" and "Missing Words". The Selecter's debut album,Too Much Pressure, was recorded at the end of 1979 and beginning of the new year, and was released in February 1980 by 2 Tone Records and Chrysalis Records. Charley Anderson and Desmond Brown then left The Selecter later that year to form The People. Their replacements were James Mackie and Adam Williams. Their second album, Celebrate the Bullet was issued in February 1981, but the following year the band disbanded. The Selecter were featured in the 2 Tone film documentary and on the live compilation album, Dance Craze.

After the band split in 1982 Black pursued a successful acting career, even winning awards. Black and Davies reformed The Selecter in 1991, and were joined by Arthur 'Gaps' Hendrickson. They released several new albums and toured around the world. Davies left the band in the mid 90s to record two solo albums, Box Of Blues and Future Swamp. Charley Anderson moved to Sweden during the 1990s where he performed, recorded and released material with The Skalatones. Pauline Black continued to record and perform as The Selecter until 2006, then returned to acting with roles in the theatre and on British TV. In 2009, she returned to the live arena, by playing shows in the UK, Germany and South America billed as Pauline Black & Her Band. The singer will release a solo album next year.

In 2009, Charley Anderson returned to Coventry to play a charity concert at the Central Hall to promote his Ghetto Child project. Joining him on stage were guests from UB40, The Specials, The Selecter along with Caroline Tambu Masvongo, Miss Muffin and Carlos Garnett.

Neol Davies, Gaps Hendrickson and Charley Anderson have also been involved with unveiling commemorative plaques for the 30th anniversary of 2 Tone on significant buildings associated with the record label in Coventry this year.

Gaps and Charley 'H' Bembridge are currently involved with The All Skas, a ska band who often perform shows in the Midlands. They are both also members of a tribute band called UB42.

The Selecter is referenced in the Mighty Mighty Bosstones song "Don't Worry Desmond Dekker."



The Selecter, live at Kant-Kino, Berlin, 1980


  • Too Much Pressure (February 1980) UK # 5
  • Celebrate the Bullet (February 1981) UK # 41
  • The Happy Album (July 1994)
  • Pucker! (August 1995)
  • Cruel Britannia (November 1998)
  • The Trojan Songbook (1999)
  • The Trojan Songbook - Vol 2 (2000)
  • The Trojan Songbook - Vol 3 (2001)
  • Real to Reel (2003)

[1 ] [2 ]

Singles and EPs

  • "Gangsters vs. The Selecter" (July 1979, 2 Tone, TT1/TT2) UK # 6
  • "On My Radio" (October 1979, CHSTT 4) UK # 8
  • "Three Minute Hero" (February 1980, CHSTT 8) UK # 16
  • "Missing Words" (March 1980, CHSTT 10) UK # 23
  • "The Whisper" (August 1980, CHSS 1) UK # 36
  • "Celebrate The Bullet" (November 1980, CHSS 2)
  • "On My Radio 91" (1991)
  • "Madness" (The Selecter featuring Prince Buster) (1992)
  • "Hairspray" EP (1995)

[1 ] [2 ]


Original line-up

Anderson and Brown left The Selecter in 1980. They were replaced by James Mackie on Hammond and Adam Williams on bass guitar.

Reformed line-up: 1991

  • Pauline Black: vocals
  • Neol Davies: guitar
  • Arthur 'Gaps' Hendrickson - vocals
  • Martin Stewart: keyboards
  • Nicky Welsh : bass
  • Perry Melius : drums


  1. ^ a b Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. pp. 859. ISBN 1-84195-017-3.  
  2. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 488. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.  

External links

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