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What song makes you think about Coventry the most?

I RECENTLY conducted a quick poll on Twitter asking my followers "What song makes you think of Coventry the most?" - the choices were the 'The Coventry Carol' and 'Ghost Town'.

Surprisingly enough, 'The Coventry Carol' failed to receive a single vote.

So 35 years on, 'Ghost Town' still identifies with Coventry even though it was never actually written about the city.

Here's some birthday trivia about that chart topper...

"The Ghost town video was shot in London late one Saturday night", recalls Specials bass man Horace Panter.

"It was June 1981 after an afternoon gig in Rotherham. We started about nine in the evening and went on until about eight the next morning.

"Quite a short video shoot by today's standards. Quite an inexpensive one too. The car was a 1962 Vauxhall Cresta with a three-speed stick shift gearbox.

"We spent all night going back and forth under the Thames with either a car in front of us filming, or driving with a dirty great big sucker stuck on the bonnet.

"One time the sucker came loose and the camera nearly rolled off the car. That bit was kept in the video.

"The guy who owned the car was less than pleased that we had marked his lovingly restored paintwork.

As it gradually got light on the Sunday morning we headed towards the City, the financial district which was absolutely deserted and looked very spooky on the finished film. The end shots are of us throwing stones in the Thames."

'Ghost Town' was at number one for three weeks in July 1981, making it the most successful single to be released on The 2-Tone Record label.

Despite its intricate musical arrangement it was only recorded on eight Track, Session engineer Johnny Rivers said it was "the best 8-track recording I have ever heard".

The song was recorded at the original Leamington's Woodbine Street studios at 27 Woodbine Street in the town, the studio was owned by Rivers.

'Ghost Town' has also the distinction of being the number one song when Prince Charles and Lady Diane were married, days before Shakin' Stevens came along and lifted the mood with his 'Green Door.'.

Brass supremo Paul Heskett, was responsible for the haunting flute on the song.

"I recall the flute was the final thing to be added to the recording", said Paul, "we did it in about three takes, we of course had no idea that 35 years later we would still be talking about it.


Horace Panter

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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 30, 2016
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