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6th Jul, 2022

Blue plaque unveiled at site of The Specials recording of Ghost Town

A SPECIAL Interest Plaque has been placed at the Leamington site where The Specials recorded their iconic track ‘Ghost Town’ in 1981.

The plaque was unveiled at 27 Woodbine Street in recognition of it being the original site of the Woodbine Street Recording Studio. The studio was a recording base for various bands like The Shapes and Swell Maps.

Ghost Town was the Coventry band’s most successful single spending three weeks at number one in the charts. It addressed themes of poverty and violence in inner cities. Riots breaking out across British cities at the time made it all the more poignant. The song was the last single recorded by the original seven members of the group.

The property was purchased by producer John Rivers in 1973 who converted the living room and cellar into a fully functioning recording studio.

The studio became increasingly successful during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

However, the studio’s growing reputation did not depend on technology, acoustics or location, but on John’s reputation as a producer who cared about artists and the music they wanted to make.

The studio moved location to more spacious surroundings in St Mary’s Crescent in the mid 1980s but retained the original name.

Of his time spent recording ‘Ghost Town’ as a member of The Specials, former bassist Horace Panter, said: “Woodbine was the local studio with a growing reputation and fitted the bill. Not only was Ghost Town a great piece of music, it had a different sound, and this was due, in no small part, to the studio in which it was recorded and to the engineering skills of its owner, John Rivers.”

The official unveiling of the plaque was carried out by Leamington mayor Susan Rasmussen and the current property owner. The plaque is the 34th to be unveiled in the town and will be added to the official walk route and guide to viewing them around the town.


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