The Specials have announced via Twitter that their long-time drummer, John “Brad” Bradbury, has died at the age of 62. Though no cause of death was immediately revealed, it is known that he passed away in his home country of England.
Bradbury joined The Specials in 1979, shortly before the release of their debut single, “Gangster”. The song launched the ska band and their mod-rudeboy style clothing to Top 10 relevancy, putting them at the forefront of the 2 Tone revival coming out of Coventry. Elvis Costello produced their self-titled debut record, which was released on keyboardist/songwriter Jerry Dammers’ 2 Tone label.
Through numerous lineup and name changes (from The Specials AKA to Rhoda with the Special AKA), Bradbury remained one of the most constant faces in the band. Even when the band reformed in 2008, the name behind the kit remained Bradbury.
In a statement on the band’s website, Bradbury’s bandmates and family members wrote,
“It is with deepest regret that we have to announce the very sad news that our much loved husband and father John “Brad” Bradbury passed away on Monday the 28th of December. Brad’s drumming was the powerhouse behind The Specials and it was seen as a key part to the Two Tone sound.
He was much respected in the world of drumming and his style of reggae and ska was seen as genuinely ground breaking when The Specials first hit the charts in 1979. He was an integral part of The Specials reforming in 2008 and toured with them extensively up to the present day.
His contribution to the world of music can not be understated and he will much missed by family, friends and fans alike. It is the families sincerest wish that they are allowed the time to remember him privately.”
Sadly, the news of Bradbury’s death comes just three months after Specials trombonist Rico Rodriguez passed away at age 80. Below, revisit some of The Specials’ classic hits.
“A Message to You Rudy”:
“Too Much Too Young”: