The Special A.K.A.* Vs. The Selecter ‎– Gangsters / The Selecter

Two-Tone Records ‎– TT1, Two-Tone Records ‎– TT2
Vinyl, 7", 45 RPM, Stamped Sleeve, Solid Centre

Tracklist Hide Credits

A The Special A.K.A.* Gangsters
B The Selecter The Selecter
Producer – R. Lomas*Written-By – Bradbury*, Davies*

Companies, etc.



This is the initial Rough Trade distributed issue. These issues came with a plain white sleeve stamped by the band themselves with the words THE SPECIAL A.K.A 'Gangsters' Vs THE SELECTER. This stamped sleeve was limited to 5000 copies.
The subsequent issues came in the standard 2-Tone sleeve: Gangsters / The Selecter

On this pressing, Gangsters fades out towards the end. The solid centre has a less pronounced, single dip; later pressings have double dips.

Some copies were pressed with Gangsters labels on both sides and some with The Selecter both sides

TT2: © 1979 ℗ Desert Songs ATV

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Matrix / Runout (A-Side Runout, etched): TT+1-3 OR GANGSTERS
  • Matrix / Runout (B-Side Runout, etched): TT2-1 E.G..


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May 4, 2019
Happy 40th birthday today to 2-tone records and one of the greatest debut singles ever , I always thought there were less quantities pressed of the initial rough trade distributed hand stamped sleeve than 5000?.


March 18, 2019
Those curious can gain a bit of information here:
It's still not very clear which were the original 5,000 units without the hand stamped sleeve included. Seems they came in both solid and pop-out center versions.


February 20, 2019
edited 3 days ago
1976 to 77- Jerry Dammers-Keyboard/drums/vocals, Horace Panter-Bass, Noel Davis-Guitar, Chuck Elliot-Guitar and 'H'- bass and drums. Record demo tapes of Jerrys songs.
July 77:: Band formed with Horace-Bass, Silverton Hutchinson-Drums, Lynval Golding-Guitar, Tim Strickland-Bass and Jerry-Keyboards, Oct 77: first gig at the Heath Hotel as the 'Automatics' supporting Urban Blight, Certified, Wild Boys and Squad, organ wouldn't fit on stage so Jerry played in the audience facing the band. Nov 77: Horace persuaded to leave the band - Breaker, Lynval and Silverton leave 'Pharoahs kingdom'. Dec 77: Terry ex Squad joins replacing Tim as lead singer, Pete Waterman takes band to London to record, fails to pay studio, tries to teach Terry to dance and is dismissed. Terrys debut was to support the Sex Pistols at Mr Georges but blown out by Steve English and Roadent( roadies) who tell them to go away. Jan 78: Band residency at Mr George begins. Feb 78: Roddy ex Wlid Boys joins as 2nd guitarist. March 78: Manager no.2 Chris Gilby ex Saints, changes name to Coventry Automatics, tries to get rid of Terry..Johnny Rotten sought as replacement(?).. meanwhile residency at Georges continues, band plays gigs supporting Ultravox, Gen X, XTC and the Saints at the Marquee. April 78: Mr Georges closes, residency ends..Johnny Rotten turns down job, manager #2 moves back to Australia, manager #3 Mike Horseman starts dismal residency at Golden Eagle, Birmingham. Band support The Clash at Barbarellas but Clash don't turn up. Band manages to avert riot. May 78: Dismal residency at Golden Eagle continues, band support the Clash at Barbarellas. The Clash turn up. Band support Sham 69 at Mayfair, Birmingham and band introduce some classic old reggae and rocksteady numbers. Jerry meets Bernis Rhodes in London and they agree to support the Clash for the beginning dates of their tour. Roddy, Horace and Terry pack in their day jobs.June 78: Clash tour begins, Clash persuade Bernie to let them do the whole tour. During this tour Neville (the roadie) joins the group onstage and begins singing on a few numbers. July 78: Tour continues..lots of adventures etc July 78: Nothing happened Sept 78: Negotiations with Bernie Rhodes to be manager#4 contract is drawn advises band not to sign. Band is rehearsing at Railway Sidings Camden. Oct 79: Bernie arranges a gig in Paris, Silverton is sent home for having wrong passport.Most of band hitch to Paris as van is too small. Then are thrown out of their hotel and guitars confiscated due to unpaid damages caused by the Damned who stayed there the week before, argument ensues between rival gangsters and eventually bill is paid and the band play. Dec 78: Brad replaces Silverton. Jan 79: with £2000 from Jimbo they decide to form their own label and record a single.. extracts from Jerry Dammers Diary.. all credits here to Alternative Sounds.


May 31, 2018
i have a paper label copy with push out centre, TT1 side has in the run out written 2 Gangsters 5 TT2 side has TT2-1 cant find it listed can anyone help please thanks


December 1, 2017
I've just picked up a paper label version of this. A side Matrix is etched: CHS TT1/ [scratched out etching] A-1 NOEL. PRT. DAMONT B side Matrix is etched: CHS [scratched out etching] /TT2 B-2 DAMONT. Any ideas which version this is as I can't find it?


August 13, 2016
I have a TT1/TT2 The Special AKA copy that I bought on release. It looks black but is in fact is a deep red colour vinyl when you hold it up to the light. Anyone else got this?


June 15, 2016
the original does not fade out whereas the chrysalis re-press does.


February 19, 2016
edited over 4 years ago
I have this copy, and on the vinyl (TT1, TT2 - 4) and it's written "A porky prime cut!" on it. Funny!
Anyone knows a little bit more?


January 9, 2016
Original version was recorded at Horizon Studios, Coventry and was produced by the Specials. Engineer: Kim Templeman-Holmes


June 5, 2015

I visited the Two Tone Museum in Coventry recently, and they have Neol Davies' copy and he hand stamped his as The Selecter vs. The Special AKA Gangsters, a unique one off copy! Anyhow, the Museum's well worth a visit for all Two Tone fans and all old Rude Boys and Rude Girls. As for Gangsters, well what a fitting tune to launch a record label and the whole Two Tone movement, brilliant.