The impact of the sound of ska in the late 70's is difficult to overstate. Like Hip-Hop in current American music culture, ska was the now sound of the late 70's and early 80's. Remember when Blondie had a hit with their cover of the rock steady classic 'The Tide Is High'? How about Todd Rundgren's flirtation with ska on the song 'Bang On The Drum All Day'? For those of us who came of age in the late 70's and early 80's ska and reggae was the sound du jour.
Apparently one future pop superstar was also drawn to the sound of ska while she was a member of The Breakfast Club. The band formed in New York in the late 70's around the brothers Dan (the singer) and Eddie (the guitarist) Gilroy, bassist Angie Schmit, and two recent arrivals from Michigan, Stephen Bray and his girlfriend, Madonna Ciccone (she played the drums). After a brief fling with the singing Gilroy, Madonna departed from the band on a mission of world conquest. Later The Breakfast Club had a quick hop up the charts in the mid-80's with a forgettable pop song called 'The Right Track'.
The evidence of that quick foray into ska is below. Its a simple demo with skank guitar and syncopated ska drums and Madonna's unmistakable voice which is a bit rough around the edges but has a chirpy and upbeat quality. The song almost sounds a bit like very early No Doubt take on ska.
Here is a short video about Madonna's time in New York as a punk rock drummer in The Breakfast Club:
Madonna later went on to re-record the rough demo above with her next band The Emmys. The version below has a full band including steel drums. Not a bad song.
Thanks to Tone And Wave for download of the song and the heads up on this piece of ska music history.