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Rockarchive Launches Series of The Specials Bassist Horace Panter's Artworks

Signed limited edition multicoloured cassette art print by Horace Panter featuring 24 different images including The Jam, Madness, Blur, The Specials, Chic, Nirvana & David Bowie © Horace Panter

The Specials two-tone sounds have made a comeback this year, with the release of the Coventry band’s new album Encore. The album is their first since 2001’s compilation Archive and their first album of new material with front man Terry Hall in nearly 40 years.


And it seems the music-buying public was thirsty for some of their punk-influenced ska revival sounds, because the album went to number 1 on the Official Albums Chart last month on its release. The revived band features the original founders and members, singer Terry Hall, guitarist and vocalist Lynval Golding and bassist Horace Panter. But not keyboardist and songwriter Jerry Dammers, drummer John Bradbury (who died in 2015), singer Neville Staple or lead guitarist Roddy Radiation.

The Specials performing onstage at the legendary Hope & Anchor in London in 1980. © David Corio

But, much like their single “Ghost Town” which rode at the top of the singles charts while Britain was seeing rioting across its big cities related to racial tensions and divisions, this new album has tapped into the current political zeitgeist and a nation divided.

Songs and lyrics look at the rise of populism, nationalism and right wing politics, along with racisms and sexism. The band spoke about their recent number one album to local paper the Coventry Observer with Golding noting, “We are so proud to have produced a great album, the world is divided and here is our album that we feel addresses this.”

Signed limited edition fine art cassette print by Horace Panter of The Specials 'Ghost Town'. © Horace Panter

While elsewhere Golding told the Official Albums Chart,"Recording this album was an amazing journey. We've been through so much as a band. But with Terry's lyrics, we could never go wrong. They fit exactly where we are today. The timing couldn't have been better."

Along with the new album, Hall, Golding and Panter are also on tour. And they’ve brought protester Saffiyah Khan, from that EDL viral photo, along with them. Khan features on the album, singing a cover of Prince Buster’s track “The Ten Commandments of Man”. Bassist and one of the founding members, Panter, says that Prince Buster was a big reason he started doing music to begin with.

The Clash Pop Art limited edition fine art print © Horace Panter

But bassist Panter doesn’t only do music, he’s also a noted artist. His work fuses collage and pop art in the manner of Peter Blake, but also paintings, like his series of the much-cherished cassette or mixtape. The paintings feature the scribbled handwritten names of bands and songs, which is synonymous with mixtapes, noting music from bands like Blur, Nirvana, The Specials and The Jam.

Anyone who grew up making mixtapes or taping singles off the radio top 40 chart will have an instant twinge of nostalgic fondness at seeing them. “For the very first time, music was portable and individual,” says Panter about this beloved medium. “Making mixtapes was just so liberating in terms of choosing what to listen to... I still don’t get Spotify!”

The Ramones Pop Art limited edition fine art print © Horace Panter

Other pieces include collages of The Clash, The Ramones and Kurt Cobain. Along with riffs on pop art classics but with Beano characters inserted into them. Talking to the Irish Examiner last year Panter says about pop art:

“Pop art was to the art world as punk was to the music business. Before that you had the abstract expressionists like Rothko and Jackson Pollock — people doing these huge emotive paintings about doom and ecstasy and tragedy. And then along comes Andy Warhol with a soup can. In music you had the new Yes triple album and Emerson Lake and Palmer. And along comes The Ramones and The Sex Pistols and they blow everything out of the water. That’s why I like pop art.”

Rockarchive has launched a series of Panter’s cassette tape works and his collages, which are available to purchase as high quality fine art prints.

For more on Panter’s art see his website. And for more on The Specials upcoming tour dates, see their website.

Kurt Cobain Pop Art limited edition fine art print. © Horace Panter

Rockarchive is delighted to be able to offer these and many more Horace Panter artworks, along with iconic images of The Specials, as limited edition fine art and photographic prints which you can buy here and here.

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