2 Tone All-Stars Meet The Pioneers on Starvation

2 Tone Starvation SingleI thought it would be interesting to take a look back at single that most of even the hard core 2 Tone collectors probably pass up all together even though they shouldn’t for various reasons. It’s “Starvation” a double A-sided charity single released  in 1985 on Madness’ Zarjazz label. The aim of the single was to raise money for the starving people of Ethiopia.

Marco on the Bass posted about this single back in 2008 actually with a very well researched piece that gives you some background on the single itself.

As he mentioned “Starvation” was a cover version of a Pioneers song and featured a number of musicians associated with the 2 Tone era including members of The Specials, Madness, The Beat and UB40, as well as The Pioneers themselves. It was as you might expect produced by Jerry Dammers the maestro himself.

It’s a who’s who of musicians past and present. Probably one of the biggest ever besides that Micheal Jackson “We Are the World” tune. Here’s a list – Vocals: Ali Campbell, Robin Campbell, Ray Falconer (UB40), Jackie Robinson, Sydney Crooks, George Agard (Pioneers); Keyboards: Jerry Dammers; Guitar: Lynval Golding; Bass: Mark Bedford; Drums: Daniel Woodgate; Percussion: John Bradbury, Geraldo Darbilly; Talking Drums: Gasper Lawal; Cornet, Flugel Horn, Trumpet: Dick Cuthel; Trombone: Annie Whitehaed; Additional vocals: Dave Wakeling; Toasting: Ranking Roger; Backing vocals: Lorenza Johnson, Claudia Fontain, Caron Wheeler, Naomi Thomson (Afrodiziak); Produced by: Jerry Dammers.

One of my favorite sites 2tone.info tells the story of how it came together: The idea of Starvation came about when a Madness fan walked into their Liquidator Studios after watching one of the first television documentaries about the plight of famine victims in Ethiopia. He suggested that Madness should cover the old Pioneers track Starvation and so impressed were they with the idea that they thought they should involve Jerry Dammers. One thing lead to another and soon a total of 21 people were involved amongst whom were ex-Specials, members of General Public in the shape of Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger, 3 members of UB40 and The Pioneers themselves. It is also reported that it was the first time Madness drummer Woody, realised who actually wrote Starvation and the bands other classic Longshot Kick The Bucket!
What a story right. It was released as both a 12″ and 7″ version.

A side

B side
Tam-Tam Pour L’Ethiopie

I've been involved in the Los Angeles music scene since at least 1995 going to shows, promoting, spinning records and running labels. Ska and Early Reggae are my passion among other things of course.