Friday, January 11, 2013
Rare Chrysalis Records Song Lyric Sheets From The Specials 1979 Debut U.S. Album
Hot on the heels of the announcement that The Specials are planning a 2013 U.S. tour, I wanted to share very rare song lyric sheets from the U.S. pressing of the band's first self-titled LP released on Chrysalis Records in 1979. The lyrics were available if you sent a a SASE (remember those boys and girls?!) to Chrysalis Records.
Long before the Internet and smart phone apps made it possible to search for song lyrics in the blink of an eye, many of us who came of age in the 80's would do our best to decipher and decode the sometimes unfamiliar and unusual lyrics we heard sung by our favorite U.K. bands. I remember many lunchtime debates with high school and college friends about lyrics that our American ears either misheard, misunderstood or frankly could not understand from the likes of The Clash "(I'm the White Man in the Palais" -- What is a palais?) , The Jam ("He smelt of pubs and Wormwood Scrubs" -- What is a Wormwood Scrubs?) and The Selecter ("I love my collie, it makes my feel so high" -- How can a dog make you high?). Add to that list The Specials, whose lyrics confounded many a teen aged American ear. Lines like "Oh no, no gimme no more pickney" and "Try wearing a cap!" were completely lost on us.
In an effort to remedy any Transatlantic cultural confusion, someone at the Chrysalis offices in New York had the bright idea to create a song lyric packet (probably transcribed and typed up by a Chrysalis Records intern). We aren't talking about anything fancy here! Just the song lyrics (without any explanation of what the songs were about) typed up on standard 8 1/2" x 11" paper with a few Walt Jabsco's and checkerboards added for a bit of design and then mimeographed. The only problem is that the official Chrysalis lyric sheets for The Specials American release were also wrong in many instances!
Below are scans of each song lyric page the record company distributed. How many errors can you find? Many thanks to Gene Meredith for sharing these with me!