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The Mojo piece on The Specials included this interesting tidbit--during the recording of "The Specials," Roddy Radiation recalled that producer Elvis Costello wanted the band to sack him for not being ska enough:
Costello wanted me out of the band. He'd heard '60s ska and didn't see any room for Chuck Berry or Johhny Thunders. He didn't understand. We weren't trying to revive ska. Terry Hall was hardly Prince Buster. We still had that punk element and the lyrics were from the Pistols/Clash school.I've always hated that "authenticity" argument--ska music was influenced by so many other genres of music (American R&B, early rock'n'roll, mento, etc.) and has organically evolved over the past 50 or so years to incorporate other influences (as it should) that it's insane to think that it's a static art form (or try to "protect" it as such), whether you were in the UK in the late '70s or watching the rise and fall of ska during the '90s in the US. Change happens and change is generally good.
Interesting to hear EC's "authenticity" complaint come from someone who is guilty of dabbling in a mind-blowing array of musical genres...(ok, I still love him for My Aim is True, This Year's Model, Armed Forces, Get Happy!, and Trust, with occasional singles here and there).