Trib­ute to leg­endary Spe­cials drum­mer John

Prince Rimshot

Nuneaton Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE -

Pete Cham­bers, Di­rec­tor Cu­ra­tor at The Coven­try Mu­sic Mu­seum and Tele­graph mu­sic colum­nist on the late, great John Brad­bury, who died ear­lier this week...

IT’S heart break­ing that the man who gave The Spe­cials their unique sound has passed away sud­denly.

Brad was with­out ques­tion the great­est Ska drum­mer around, his tech­nique was copied by oth­ers but never equalled, Brad (or Prince Rimshot) put it down to “mus­cle mem­ory”, the fans knew it was more than that.

He was born in Coven­try in Fe­bru­ary 1952, he lived in Gran­tham Street Op­po­site Gos­ford Green, and at­tended Bin­ley Park School.

He stud­ied at Hull Univer­sity, but to many Coven­try folk, it was his stint work­ing at Vir­gin records in City Ar­cade, many will re­call him pre-Spe­cials.

His time at Vir­gin Records gave him the edge on what was hot, and he never lost his love for North­ern Soul mu­sic.

How­ever, it was Ska mu­sic that would over­take his life.

Brad came into The Spe­cials just be­fore they recorded Gang­sters (he had pre­vi­ously played on what would be­come the sin­gles ‘other side’ too “The Selecter”).

From that mo­ment on­wards, he be­came an ir­re­place­able part of The Spe­cials ma­chine, in­clud­ing the su­perb fills that kicked off the num­ber one hit “Too Much Too Young” and punc­tu­ated the rhythms of “Ra­trace”.

His love of North­ern Soul rose again when he de­vel­oped his own record la­bel, Race Records, pro­mot­ing lo­cal tal­ent like Team 23. He formed his own band JB’s All­stars, and con­tin­ued to drum with The Spe­cial AKA, once the clas­sic lineup of The Spe­cials had ended. He was in­ducted onto The Coven­try Mu­sic Wall of Fame in 2011.

In 2009 when The Spe­cials made a glo­ri­ous re­turn, it was Brad’s drum sound that took us all back to circa 1979. His band mate Lyn­val Gold­ing, just spoke to me and was in a state of shock, say­ing: “We had some great plans for the band”, I’m just numb, Brad was so much The Spe­cials. “I’m Heart­bro­ken.” To say that he will be greatly missed is really not any­where near enough. He was a great hu­man be­ing, a real gen­tle­man, as a drum­mer he was a tran­scen­dent. Prince Rimshot has left the drum riser and bro­ken all our hearts.

John Brad­bury (left) with the re­formed line-up of The Spe­cials

John (third from left) with his band­mates in 1979 and (be­low) in ac­tion at the Coachella Val­ley Mu­sic & Art Fes­ti­val 2010 in Cal­i­for­nia

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