2 Tone: Lives & Legacies
14 May 10.00am – 12 September 4.00pm 2021
2 Tone: Lives & Legacies is the United Kingdom’s first major exhibition dedicated to the 2 Tone music phenomenon, opening on 14 May and lasting until 12 September 2021.
The 2 Tone sound emerged in the booming music scene of the 1970s in Coventry and the name comes from the iconic 2 Tone record label created by Jerry Dammers of The Specials in 1979, responding at the time to a desire to overcome and defuse racial tensions in Britain.
The exhibition will investigate the record label’s creation and analyse its ideology, political and social message, architecture and effect on the day’s music charts. The emphasis is on The Specials, The Selecter and other ska-influenced bands such as Madness, The Beat and The Bodysnatchers, showcasing the bands that were part of the label.
It will investigate the ongoing impact of 2 Tone on music, fashion, politics and society. Interviews and quotations from original band members and 3rd wave artists from around the world, popular fans, and fanatics of 2 Tone will be included. It will also refresh the storey – with members of the band performing nationwide and globally.
Fashion pieces and memorabilia, including the famous 2 Tone coat, the pork pie cap of Roddy Radiation, the Fred Perry polo shirt and the Harrington sweater, will be included in the show.
The show will culminate in an unforgettable 2 Tone experience celebrating the bands’ performances’ vitality and iconic voice. Special 2 Tone playlists will be available and an area for guests to leave their own 2 Tone period memories, reflections and highlights.
If you are a 2 Tone fan, please share with us your favourite 2 Tone memories, pictures and videos by emailing them by Sunday 28 February 2021 to 2Tone@culturecoventry.com for an opportunity to appear in the exhibition.
We will also be happy to get your ‘selfie-style’ video clips asking us ‘What 2 Tone means to you’ (portrait orientation).
In collaboration with the Coventry Music Gallery, the exhibition has been organised. Simon Reynolds, Cory Barrett, Pete Chambers, Jennifer Otter Bickerdike and Daniel Rachel are the resident curators.