John “Brad” Bradbury, drummer for legendary English ska band the Specials, has died at the age of 62. A cause of death has not been reported. The band tweeted the news this morning: “It is with deep regret that we say goodbye to our great friend, the world’s greatest drummer, our beloved Brad. RIP”
The Specials, one of the most iconic and influential ska bands of all time, formed in Coventry in 1977. Bradbury joined the group in 1979, just in time for their self-titled debut album. The band’s first seven singles hit the UK top 10, including #1 hits “Too Much Too Young” and “Ghost Town.” After several band members left in 1981 to form Fun Boy Three, the band continued as the Special AKA, scoring another top-10 hit with “Free Nelson Mandela” before breaking up in 1984. He also led the soul revue JB’s Allstars. Bradbury did not participate in the 1993-2001 Specials reunion that generated four more studio albums, but he was part of the reunited Specials that began touring again in 2008. Less than a week ago he appeared on London’s Soho Radio.
Bradbury’s family also shared a statement:
It is with deepest regret that we have to announce the very sad news that our much loved husband and father John ‘Brad’ Bradbury passed away on Monday the 28 of December.
Brad’s drumming was the powerhouse behind The Specials and it was seen as a key part to the Two Tone sound. He was much respected in the world of drumming and his style of reggae and ska was seen as genuinely ground-breaking when The Specials first hit the charts in 1979.
He was an integral part of The Specials reforming in 2008 and toured with them extensively up to the present day. His contribution to the world of music can not be understated and he will much missed by family, friends and fans alike.
It is the family’s sincerest wish that they are allowed the time to remember him privately.