Ska starts in Jamaica in the late 1950s and from there a lot of ska is misinterpreted. Ska was a popular sound in dancehalls and is Jamaicans first very own style of music. The bands and fans originally and for the most part idolized al Capone style gangsters and dressed the like; this is where the signature rude boy suit came from. The term rude boy was a term that the islanders called the ruffians associate with ska and is what they called each other out of prestige associate with gangsters once again.
The name "ska" came from the sound the guitar makes. The music its self is a blend of calypso, R&B, jazz and other more Americanized music, but with a Jamaican spin. Generally ska includes up strokes on the guitar, island style bass lines, drums using mostly toms and symbols, trumpet, trombone, keyboards and saxophones are also associated with ska. But the upstrokes are the most important part. Ska was a very big hit in Jamaica and from it came rock steady, dancehall, and reggae.
From Jamaica ska made its way to Europe, mainly the UK and was changed slightly to something more commonly called "two tone ska" the two-tone ska movement was named for the overwhelming unity between blacks and whites within the scene at the time. The music got fairly faster and more poppy. A number of the bands incorporated horns less often, or used very simple melodies for the horns. Ska was most popular among the pre-racist skinheads, mods, and rudies(rude boy) sub cultures. Though for such a huge explosion the fad died out within the better part of five years.
Around the mid eighties ska was beginning to see the start of a third revival. Small bands were sprouting out of the northeast and were generally ignored by the media and public. During its start in America ska became faster still and actually accented the horns the most out of the three generations. it broke off into many ska sub genres including a ska-core with kind of metal influences, a punkish ska with less up strokes and well, more punk, there’s a jazzy sort of ska that kept it laid back, even rap, Christian, satanic and pretty much any other genre you can think of has been incorporated into ska. Though there were, and still are, American traditional ska bands and American two tone ska bands as well. About ten years of enjoying underground success ska exploded into America’s limelight and was brutally exploited like any other American music fad. Every garage band in America claimed to be ska, though punk with horns is more appropriate due to the lack of any other ska influence for the most of the bands. Though thankfully those waves died and when the dust cleared the true ska bands were still standing on the ashes.
Though Ska’s 40+ years of existence it has never died, and has been to hell and back. underground ska is still out and about and unfortunately still being misunderstood and assumed, this time with more of a hXc or scremo twists yuck! But there are still good ol' real ska bands out, in fact the toasters (claimed to be the first American ska band) and the skatilites (credited as the first ska band ever) are still around and tour. Ska is all about unity, dancing, and having a fun time. Don’t hate on it.
some ska bands
Toots & the maytals
Byron Lee & the Dragonaires
early Bob Marley and Peter Tosh was ska also
Bim Skala Bim
Mighty Mighty Bosstones
Five Iron Frenzy
Reel Big Fish
Ruder Than You
Dance Hall Crashers
New York Ska Jazz Ensemble
Let's Go Bowling
early No Doubt and Sublime