Two plaques have been unveiled in Coventry to celebrate the history of 2-Tone music.

Sited at Coventry Railway Station, they mark the former locations of the Rocket pub and Horizon Studios, which played notable roles in the development of the scene.


The genre emerged out of Coventry in the 1970s, with the name coming from the record label founded by Jerry Dammers of The Specials in 1979. The Selecter, Madness, The Beat and The Bodysnatchers were also on the label.

Many of the bands championed multi-culturalism and their music sought to overcome the racial tensions of the 70s and early 80s.

Pete Chambers, curator-director at the Coventry Music Museum, described Horizon Studios as "2-Tone central".

"So many classic 2-Tone tracks were recorded there”, he said. "It was a really important studio for Coventry. I remember when it went from eight-track to 16-track... it was a really big thing."

The Specials, The Selecter and Bad Manners were among those to record at Horizon Studios. Mr Chambers said what bands always remembered, though, was having to lug heavy amplifiers up the stairs because there was no lift.

He said the Rocket, just across the road, served as the nearest watering hole, offering bands a chance for a bit of downtime and refreshment during long recording sessions. He went on to say: "They often sat there talking different musical ideas and things they were going to do when they got back in the studio."

A plaque used to stand on the Rocket, but disappeared years before it was demolished. The latest ones have been funded by Coventry City Council.