John Bradbury, drummer of trailblazing ska band The Specials, dead at 62

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The Specials Perform 'Rudy'

John Bradbury, the revered drummer known for his dedication to The Specials and influence within the 2 Tone ska movement of the late-'70s, died Monday in England, according to statements from his band and family. The news was first announced Tuesday via Twitter, but no cause of death was noted. He was 62. "It is with deep regret that we say goodbye to our great friend, the world's greatest drummer, our beloved Brad," tweeted The Specials, which also lost their trombonist Rico Rodriguez in September.

See photos of John Bradbury and The Specials from over the years:

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John Bradbury, drummer for The Specials
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John Bradbury, drummer of trailblazing ska band The Specials, dead at 62
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 17 -- Air Date 04/19/1980 -- Pictured: (l-r) Singer Neville Staple, guitarist Roddy Byers, bassist Horace Panter, guitarist Lynval Goldring, drummer John Bradbury, keyboardist Jerry Dammers -- Musical guest The Specials perform on April 19, 1980 (Photo by Fred Hermansky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
The Specials, Lynval Golding, Terry Hall, John Bradbury, 13th February 2009 (Photo by Martin Godwin/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 08: Musicians (l-r) Neville Staple, Horace Panter, John Bradbury and Terry Hall of The Specials performs on stage at Brixton Academy on May 8, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Matt Kent/Redferns)
BRIGHTON, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 19: Neville Staple, Horace Panter, John Bradbury and Terry Hall of The Specials perform on stage at Brighton Centre on November 19, 2009 in Brighton, England. (Photo by Tabatha Fireman/Redferns)
LONDON - NOVEMBER 24: Terry Hall and John Bradbury of British 2-tone ska group The Specials performs live on stage during their 30th Anniversary reunion tour at Hammersmith Apollo on November 24, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Jim Dyson/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 24: John Bradbury of The Specials performs on stage at Hammersmith Apollo on November 24, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Andy Sheppard/Redferns)
The Specials In Concert At Hammersmith Apollo, London, Britain - 24 Nov 2009, The Specials - John Bradbury (Photo by Brian Rasic/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 24: L-R Terry Hall, Neville Staple, Roddy Byers, John Bradbury, Lynval Golding and Nik Torp of The Specials arrive at the Shockwaves NME Awards 2010 held at Brixton Academy on February 24, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images)
INDIO, CA - APRIL 16: Musician John Bradbury of The Specials performs during Day 1 of the Coachella Valley Music & Art Festival 2010 held at the Empire Polo Club on April 16, 2010 in Indio, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images)
BELFORT, FRANCE - JULY 03: John Bradbury of The Specials performs on stage during the second day of Les Eurockeenes Festival at Malsaucy on July 3, 2010 in Belfort, France. (Photo by Gary Wolstenholme/Redferns)
COLOGNE, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 24: John Bradbury of 'The Specials' performs on stage at the E-Werk on September 24, 2011 in Cologne, Germany. (Photo by Peter Wafzig/Getty Images)
Portrait of English musician John Bradbury, taken on October 9, 2011. Bradbury is best known the a drummer with British ska group The Specials. (Photo by Joby Sessions/Rhythm Magazine via Getty Images)
Portrait of English musician John Bradbury, taken on October 9, 2011. Bradbury is best known the a drummer with British ska group The Specials. (Photo by Joby Sessions/Rhythm Magazine via Getty Images)
(EDITORS NOTE: This image has been digitally manipulated) Portrait of English musician John Bradbury, taken on October 9, 2011. Bradbury is best known the a drummer with British ska group The Specials. (Photo by Joby Sessions/Rhythm Magazine via Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 9: The Specials drummer John Bradbury during a portrait shoot, October 9, 2011. (Photo by Joby Sessions/Rhythm magazine via Getty Images)
Portrait of English musician John Bradbury, taken on October 9, 2011. Bradbury is best known as the drummer with British ska group The Specials. (Photo by Joby Sessions/Rhythm Magazine via Getty Images)
Bt London Live, Hyde Park, London, Britain - 12 Aug 2012, Closing Ceremony - The Specials - John Bradbury, Terry Hall (Photo by Brian Rasic/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 12: Neville Staple, Roddy Radiation, Terry Hall, John Bradbury and Nik Torp of The Specials perform on stage during BT London Live at Hyde Park on August 12, 2012 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Christie Goodwin/Redferns via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 03: John Bradbury of The Specials performs on stage at Alexandra Palace on November 3, 2011 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Hayley Madden/Redferns)
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Bradbury's family also released a longer statement, available below, via BBC:

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.



Bradbury joined the Coventry-based group in 1979, replacing its original drummer and staying with the crew until his death, throughout a handful of reformations and name changes. The Specials were widely referred to as musical pioneers for their multiracial lineup and unique blend of ska and punk, the latter of which, the BBC notes, led to seven top-10 singles in the U.K., as well as a whole new sub-genre. For his part, Bradbury also performed with J.B.'s Allstars, Special Beat (a mashed-up squad of The Specials and The English Beat), and, briefly, The Selecter.

In memoriam here's one of The Specials' earliest hits, "Gangsters," which Bradbury co-penned:



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