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Neville Staple (born Neville Euton Staple, 11 April 1955, Manchestermarker, Jamaicamarker) is a singer for the two-tone ska band, The Specials as well as his own combo, The Neville Staple Band. Along with Ranking Roger, he also sings in Special Beat.

Early life

At the age of five, Neville left Jamaica to live in the English town of Rugby, Warwickshiremarker but later moved to Coventrymarker. He was initially active in the sound system scene forming his own crew called "Jah Baddis". Neville was a regular fixture at the Locarno ballroom in Coventry where he met its resident DJ, Pete Waterman. Pete was heavily involved in the seventies reggae scene before going on to become a major pop producer in the 1980s. Pete has written the foreword to Neville's biography - "Original Rude Boy" - and briefly managed The Specials.

The Specials

Neville's first involvement with The Specials was when they were still called The Coventry Automatics. He initially joined as their roadie but at a gig supporting The Clash, Neville took to the stage and never looked back. For a while, The Specials were managed by The Clash's manager Bernard Rhodes of whom Neville used to toast "Bernie Rhodes knows don't argue" at the beginning of the Specials hit single "Gangsters".

Neville's vocal style is toasting or chanting over a rhythm. A forerunner of rapping which was brought to Britain in the 1960s by musicians from Jamaica. Neville honed his toasting skills on the sound system scene in Coventry during the 1970s. When he joined the Coventry Automatics, the line up already included Jerry Dammers, Horace Panter and Silverton Hutchinson on drums. Terry Hall subsequently came in as vocalist, replacing Tim Strickland, and Roddy Radiation on lead guitar. John Bradbury would later take over on drums from Silverton.

Fun Boy Three

When The Specials split up, Neville departed with Terry Hall and Lynval Golding, to form Fun Boy Three. They had a string of chart hits, some in collaboration with the all-female trio Bananarama.

Third wave

In 1990, Staple joined Ranking Roger from The Beat to form Special Beat, a revival group playing hits from both former two-tone bands. This was in response to the huge explosion of interest in ska in the United States. The so-called "Third Wave" of ska. Neville moved to Californiamarker in the 1990s to work with many of these new American ska acts. Bands he collaborated with included No Doubt, Rancid and Unwritten Law. Neville also featured on the song "Explosive" by the Canadian ska band, The Planet Smashers.

In 2000, Staple's re-recordings of hits by The Specials and Fun Boy Three were released as The Very Best of the Specials and Fun Boy Three, though without being prominently labelled as a solo work by Staple.

In 2004, Neville returned to the UK and formed a new combo - "The Neville Staple Band". This group featured former members of the British ska band Bad Manners with Warren Middleton (Trombone), Sledge (Bass), Andy (Guitar), Joey (keyboards) and Pat (Drums).

In 2006 Staple toured the UK with a new backing band. He has a daughter; Sheena Staple, who currently lives in the U.S., who is working on a solo album; and a son Darren Simms who is the lead singer in a U.S. reggae / rock band named "DreadStarr" And a Male model.

Original Rude Boy

In April 2009, Neville Staple set out on a reunion tour with The Specials. The same month also saw the launch of his biography Original Rude Boy published by Aurum Press. The book covers Neville's involvement with the 1970s sound system scene and childhood in Jamaicamarker. Then how a chance encounter with Jerry Dammers and The Specials led to his involvement in that band and Fun Boy Three. Neville collaborated with former BBC journalist Tony McMahon on the book and both are registered with the Blake Friedmann literary agency.

Compilation albums and compilation contributions

Title Release
Label U.K. album peak
The Singles Collection 1991 2 Tone, CHR TT 5010 10
Coventry Automatics Aka the Specials: Dawning of a New Era 1994 Receiver -
Too Much Too Young: The Gold Collection 1996 EMI -
Concrete Jungle 1998 -
BBC Sessions 1998 EMI -
Best of the Specials 1999 Disky -
Very Best of the Specials and Fun Boy Three 2000 Cleopatra -
Archive 2001 Rialto -
The Specials vs. The Untouchables: Ska's Greatest Stars 2002 Big Eye Music -
Ghost Town 2004 -
Stereo-Typical: A's, B's and Rarities 2005 Chrysalis -
The Best of the Specials & Fun Boy Three 2006 Pegasus -
Greatest Hits 2006 Fantastic Prize -
80's New Wave Hits - Rearrangement of The Go-Go's' "Our Lips Are Sealed", with Jane Wiedlin, originally on The Specials vs The Untouchables: Ska's Greatest Stars 2006 Big Eye Music -
The Best of the Specials 2008 EMI 24


  1. [1] Pete Waterman's biog outline
  2. [2] Story behind the song "Gangsters"
  3. [3] The Specials early years on their website
  4. [4] Bananarama chronology on band website
  5. [5] Planet Smashers and Neville Staple
  6. [6] Neville Staple Band management and details
  7. BBC - 6 Music - The Specials reunion
  8. Ska band confirms reunion plans
  9. The Specials reunite for 2009 tour

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