The Specials Ghost Town

The Specials Ghost Town
Original Acrylic on Board Image Size: 90 x 59cm Frame outer edge: 97 x 66 cm Signed by Horace Panter


Original painting
Acrylic on Board
Image Size: 90 x 59cm
Frame outer edge: 97 x 66 cm
Signed by Horace Panter
Framed in Black

“Ghost Town” spent three weeks at number one and 10 weeks in total in the top 40 of the UK Singles Chart. Addressing themes of urban decay, deindustrialisation, unemployment and violence in inner cities, the song is remembered for being a hit at the same time as riots were occurring in British cities. Internal tensions within the band were also coming to a head when the single was being recorded, resulting in the song being the last single recorded by the original seven members of the group before splitting up. However, the song was hailed by contemporary UK music press as a major piece of popular social commentary, and all three of the major UK music magazines of the time awarded “Ghost Town” the accolade of “Single of the Year” for 1981.

In March 1981, Jerry Dammers heard the reggae song “At the Club” by actor and singer Victor Romero Evans played on Roundtable, the singles review show on BBC Radio 1. Fascinated by the record’s sound, Dammers telephoned the song’s co-writer and producer John Collins a few days later, although as Dammers first phone call was in the middle of the night, Collins initially took it to be a joke. Following further conversations with Dammers, Collins travelled up from his home in London to meet the Specials at their rehearsal studio and agreed to produce their new single

After becoming overwhelmed with the multitude of choices available in the 24-track studio used during the recording of More Specials, Jerry Dammers had decided that he wanted to return to a more basic set-up, and after a recommendation by Horace who was familiar with the place, the band chose the small 8-track studio in the house owned by John Rivers in Woodbine Street in Royal Leamington Spa. The studio, which consisted of a recording space in the cellar and a control room in the living room, was too small to accommodate all the members of the band, so rather than their normal recording method of playing all together, Collins recorded each band member playing one at a time and built up the song track by track. There are two recording rooms, the first being the main 31 square meter one. The second is a 13.6 square meter “living” room which is wood panelled, optimising it for the recording of drums.

Horace Panter - Artist, Bass Player "Sir Horace Gentleman"

Horace’s influences are diverse and range from the Pop Art paraphernalia of artists such as Peter Blake, Andy Warhol and Robert Indiana to the depictions of light in paintings by Edward Hopper and David Hockney. Although most of his career has been defined by music (as the bass player in The Specials), Horace graduated in 1975 with a degree in Fine Art from what was then called the ‘Lanchester Polytechnic’ in Coventry (now Coventry University). It was there that he first met Jerry Dammers and the concept of the punk/ska band materialised. He has been exhibiting in the UK since 2009 and in 2015 exhibited his work in Los Angeles and New York for the first time.