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The Selecter

One of the key bands of the U.K. ska revival of the late '70s and early '80s, the Selecter were also one of the few racially and sexually integrated acts on the scene, and vocalist Pauline Black often tackled sexism along with racism and the other social ills focused upon by groups that were part of the 2-Tone movement. The Selecter originally began as a studio project: when the Specials released their debut single, "Gangsters," in 1979, they needed a second song for a B-side, and they decided to use a track that Specials drummer John Bradbury had previously recorded with guitarist Neol Davies and trombone player Barry Jones in 1977; the tune, "Kingston Affair," was credited to the Selecter. When "Gangsters" became a hit and "Kingston Affair" began gaining its share of attention, Davies opted to assemble a proper band using the name. Recruiting his friends Charley Anderson on bass and Desmond Brown on keyboards, Davies filled out the lineup with guitarist Compton Amanor, Charley "H" Bembridge on drums, and vocalist Arthur "Gaps" Hendrickson; when Davies met Pauline Black, he promptly gave her an audition, and she was added to the lineup as lead singer.

The Selecter were soon added to the 2-Tone Records roster, and scaled the U.K. singles charts with the singles "Three Minute Hero," "On My Radio," and "Missing Words." The Selecter's debut album, Too Much Pressure, was released in early 1980, and rose to number five on the U.K. album chart, eventually receiving a gold record. At the peak of their success, the Selecter were filmed on tour for Dance Craze, 2-Tone's documentary about the British ska revival, but the first proper lineup began to crumble when Charley Anderson and Desmond Brown left to form their own band, the People. With the addition of keyboard player James Mackie and Adam Williams on bass, the Selecter began work on their second album, but 1981's Celebrate the Bullet was welcomed with tepid reviews and poor sales, and Black left to pursue a solo career, with the band soon breaking up after a new vocalist didn't work out.

Black worked in music and as an actress before the enduring popularity of the 2-Tone sound led her to assemble a new lineup of the Selecter with Davies in 1991. The new Selecter released an album, 1992's Out on the Streets, but not long after its release, Davies had left the group, and "Gaps" Hendrickson came aboard in 1993, in time to help cut 1994's The Happy Album. In 1997, No Doubt, serious fans of the 2-Tone era, invited the Selecter to open their American tour, and a steady stream of live and studio releases appeared from the group, most featuring Black and a rotating cast of musicians. In 2006, Black left the Selecter, and for a while Davies toured with his own edition of the group. Black and Hendrickson began performing again as the Selecter in 2010, and in 2015 they released a new album, Subculture, a commanding fusion of reggae and ska that rose to number five on the U.K. indie album chart. ~ Mark Deming
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Indie Singles Collection 1991-96 / Greatest Hits Live

Disc 1

1. On My Radio '91

2. The Selecter '91

3. On My Radio '91 (Rad Mix)

4. Madness

5. Madness (Insane Mix)

6. Madness (Tuff Mix)

7. Hairspray

8. Die Happy

9. On My Radio (Live Minneapolis 1991)

10. Missing Words (Live Minneapolis 1991)

11. Too Much Pressure '96

12. Three Minute Hero (1992)

13. Missing Words (1992)

14. On My Radio (1992)

15. Sugar Town

16. Sweet And Dandy

17. Die Happy (Live)

18. Hairspray (Live)

Disc 2

1. Too Much Pressure (Live)

2. On My Radio (Live)

3. Missing Words (Live)

4. Murder (Live)

5. Three Minute Hero (Live)

6. Everyday (Time Hard) (Live)

7. Other Side Of Love (Live)

8. The Whisper (Live)

9. Street Feeling (Live)

10. The Selecter (Live)

11. Washed Up And Left For Dead (Live)

12. Out On The Streets Again (Live)

13. Train To Skaville (Live)

14. Trout (Live)

15. Whip Them Down (Live)

16. Ladders (Live)

17. Neurotica (Live)

18. California Screaming (Live)

19. Orange Street (Live)

20. My Sweet Collie (Live)

x

Track List: Street Feeling

Disc 1

1. Johnny Too Bad

2. Barb Wire

3. Monkey Spanner

4. Shocks of Mighty

5. Reggae In Your Jeggae

6. Let Your Yeah Be Yeah

7. Them Laugh and a Kiki

8. Herbsman Shuffle

9. Elizabeth Serenade

10. Cherry Oh Baby

11. Tide Is High

12. 007 (Shanty Town)

13. Pressure Drop

14. Tighten Up

15. The Whip

16. Sufferer

17. What a Botheration

Disc 2

1. Missing Words

2. Street Feeling

3. James Bond

4. Everyday (Time Hard)

5. Carry Go Bring Come

6. My Sweet Collie

7. Celebrate the Bullet

8. Train to Skaville

9. Three Minute Hero

10. Out On the Streets Again

11. The Selecter

12. Too Much Pressure

13. On My Radio

14. Double Barrel

15. Al Capone

16. Madness

17. Rough Rider

x

Track List: Best Of The Selecter

1. On My Radio

2. Celebrate The Bullet

3. Tell Me What's Wrong

4. Three Minute Hero

5. Out On The Streets

6. James Bond

7. Murder

8. Missing Words

9. Too Much Pressure

10. Carry Go Bring Come

11. Black And Blue

12. Danger

13. The Whisper

14. My Collie (Not A Dog)

15. Street Feeling

16. Time Hard

x

Track List: Celebrate The Bullet

1. (Who Likes) Facing Situations

2. Deep Water

3. Red Reflections

4. Tell Me What's Wrong

5. Bombscare

6. Washed Up And Left For Dead

7. Celebrate The Bullet

8. Selling Out Your Future

9. Cool Blue Lady

10. Their Dream Goes On

11. Bristol And Miami

x

Track List: String Theory

1. The Avengers Theme

2. A Prince Among Men

3. Warrior

4. Flatworld

5. Secret Love

6. High Hair

7. London's Burning

8. Doors Ever Open

9. Post Modern

10. 667 (The Neighbour Of The Beast)

Comments

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A non-stop dance party the night I saw them at the Whiskey in LA for their first tour in the 80s.
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The Selector was very poplar in the 80s in Southern California LA area during the Mod Ska Revival and f**king rocked the house !!!!
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In the 90s I was fortunate to watch them perform live in Pomona CA at a small venue called the Glass House. Someone asked them to play Monkey Man a Specials song, which left to some laughter on stage.
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Too unknown such a shame.
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Great vibe! ��
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Yes
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Ahhhh memories.... .
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I FINALLY got to experience the Selecter LIVE at Riot Fest last weekend and it was SUPER AWESOME!!!! I'm still smiling about it :-) The only thing that sucked was that the set was too damn short :-(
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The Selecter has always been one of my all time favorite ska bands. They are a bad az band that you never get tired of listening and skanking to. Skank till ya rank and bop till ya drop!
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I love to listen to The Selecter On My Radio!
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mv881
The Selecter's music has bubbled up in my consciousnes s periodically for almost 30 years. Wish they made more.
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Don't forget 'On MyRadio' and '3 Minute Hero'
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Only one undeniably fine album? Celebrate the Bullet? Very dark but still a great record with biting social criticism
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my most favorite two tone band of all time : )
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benbaron00
Celebrate the Bullet is a better album IMO, having more range, especially in the writing, and Black gets to show off her chops singing solo in several songs.
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C'mon, sure Shanty Town is the best song.
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wrmack
The Selecter's genius lay in its ability to produce ska that was lively and keen-edged without being goofy. Too Much Pressure and Murder are the unheralded high water marks of the ska revival.
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Classic may be getting old but not forgotten. Rude Boy with the Burns will always have a place in my sole for The Selecter... ahhh the late seventies early eighty's
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all I can say it that I love this group.
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Too Much Pressure is one of the greatest ska songs ever recorded! BRAVO!!
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Loved this group at it's heigth of it's career. Bud7091 is right! I recall several great songs of their's that I can list as long as my arm and my arm is long.
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who told these guys they only recorded one record?
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sfw206
UNTOUCHABLE!
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They get a bad rap even here. lol... Celebrate the Bullet is a killer album.
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love The Selecter- have the first album on vinyl-need to check out Celebrate the Bullet!
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eaaron318
The Selecter's second album, _Celebrate the Bullet_, gets a bad rap from Dougan as "strained." Sure it's uneven, but it shows them growing out of the tight formulas of the first album, with superb solo work, smart lyrics, a darker vibe, and great songs like Deepwater, Bombscare, Selling out your Future, Cool Blue Lady, Bristol+Miam i , and the title song. Plus Pauline Black is given more space to sing brilliantly. Word: check out the fine interview with Black and comments on the Selecter by "Mar
Report as inappropriate
Lead singing, flat guitar picking enhanced with bubbling keys makes The Selecter one of my favorite ska bands. Definitely an influence to my ska band The Upbeat (on facebook) since our beginnings in 1985.
Much respect to The Selecter!!!
Report as inappropriate
Celebrate the Bullet isn't a half-bad album, either.
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Oi!
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Lovin this site and stations
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flynnbm4
The Selecter were so great. I love both albums. Celebrate The Bullet is totally underrated. Who Likes Facing Situations, and Bristol & Miami are up there with the whole first album. Two-tone was awesome. More than just bands. It was a whole culture.
Report as inappropriate
i saw them live @ the Whiskey - n good old hollywood i think it was back in 95'great music,good times was very young....met a cute rudeboy that night i think he was from fountain valley....ah a h a h what a blast
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word
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i love the ska....

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