Ska started in Jamaica in the 1950s. The Jamaican people usually listened American radio and records, but when we switched to rock n roll, they couldn't stand it. They needed their own music. Also, Jamaica had just gained independence from Britain. Their president called for a type of music that was truly Jamaican, not a copy of British music. Thus, ska was born as a blend of every rhythmic style of music found at the time. Ska gets its name from the morning greeting of the man who really started the music. Every day he yelled "Happy skavoovee" to people, and so the music was called "ska." The original dancing was simply "the ska" and was just the people of Kingston moving to the beat. Some well known artists of this type of ska are Desmond Dekker and the Aces, The Skatalites, Peter Tosh, Toots and the Maytals, Prince Buster, and Bob Marley. In Jamaica, a very slow form of ska developed into rocksteady. Rocksteady developed into reggae. It is a popular misconception that ska came from reggae. The Jamaicans who made ska were hoodlums. They were "the guys your mother warned you about" like Fonzie. They're sort of Jamaican punks. The Jamaican slang for "cool" was "rude." Thus, these guys were called "rude boys."

In the 1960s, Jamaican music, mainly ska, became popular in the UK as well as the world. It was Millie Small's "My Boy Lollipop" that turned the world onto ska. Mods and skinheads were prominant in the ska scene. Remember that skinheads were not Nazis; it was a fashion. Bob Marley, though generally known for his dreadlocks, was a skinhead at one point. Even the Beatles thought ska was cool and tried to incorporate ska-elements into "Obladi Oblada."

The first record label in the UK to cater exclusively to this kind of music was started by Jerry Dammers, the keyboardist for the Specials (aka The Special AKA). Because ska was really the first (and still probably only) musical genre to equally incorporate both black and white artists, he named his label Two Tone Records. Every record released contained a drawing of a man named Walt Jabsco who dressed completely in a black and white suit with a thin black tie and porkpie hat. This drawing was based off of a picture of Peter Tosh in traditional rude boy fashion. Also on the album covers was a pattern known simply as "Two Tone." This is the signature checkerboard pattern. It represents racial unity since there are equal amounts of both black and white and they are touching, not separated. Equality and untiy between black and white are both represented. It is also important to note that Walt was all black and white as well. The more well-known bands of this time are The Specials (aka The Special AKA), Madness, The Selector, The Beat, The Bodysnatchers, and The Swinging Cats.

Skanking originated in the UK at this time. Instead of keeping ones feet on the ground like doing the twist, people started kicking higher and swinging their arms more wildly. This fit since 2Tone ska is more upbeat than Jamaican ska. The faster tempo and wilder dancing could be attributed to the early punk influence.

Jamaica reached the US in the 80s. By then, so much had been added to the original ska, that it was very different. After all the addition of punk and rock n roll, ska was very different. This is where ska gets confusing, however. Some will claim that ska is still in its 3rd wave. Others say 4th. I go with the latter. Whether one considers there to have been 3 or 4 waves is inconsequentiontial. Early American ska was closer to 2Tone with punk influence than modern ska is, yet some people aren't willing to say that ska-pop is the 4th wave since there was a smoother transition between 3rd and 4th wave than the others. Generally the bands that were popular in the 80s are more 3rd wave and the ones that popped up in the mid-90s are 4th. I will say that 3rd wave ska bands include bands like Fishbone, The Toasters, No Doubt (old stuff), The Reel Big Fish (old stuff)and The Untouchables. For 4th I'll include more punk and pop things as The Reel Big Fish (new stuff), Mighty Mighty Bosstones, No Doubt (newer stuff), Less Than Jake, Catch 22, Hepcat, and Streetlight Manifesto. The part where No Doubt and The Reel Big Fish are in both because of their sound changes is where the wae system breaks down. The inclusion of bands in both sections is what makes it harder to define where 3rd wave ends and 4th begins.
I'm listening to a great ska band called Streetlight Manifesto.
by macoafi June 08, 2005
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happy good music
I love listening to ska.
by Nora May 24, 2003
One of the most versitile and long lasting genre of music alive today. Disregarding some peoples beliefs, Ska makes itself individualised by its brass section, walking basslines and offbeat guitar chords. There were 3 waves of ska; Trad, 2 tone and 3rd wave but most bands today are 3rd wave caus its totally cool. It has derived from alot of influences, of which jazz, reggae, swing and punk would be the most prominant. Suits, big shades and dancin' shoes are usually worn at a ska concert.
"Man, Ska is totally cool! All other music bites serious ass compared to it!"
by Riley July 31, 2003
Jamaican R&B artists developed their nation's first indigenous music genre when they began to incorporate jazz, African and Calypso rhythms into their songs in the late 1950s. The result was Ska, a fusion of the unique Jamaican mento rhythms with R&B. In Ska, the drum comes in on the 2nd and 4th beats, while the guitar emphasizes the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th beats. Ska bands usually consist of a strong rhythm section, guitars, keyboards and brass. The early Ska music of in the '60s and '70s spawned later revivals. The first was in the U.K. in the '80s, giving rise to bands like Madness and the Specials. The next, known as Third Wave Ska, struck the U.S. in the '90s.
Ska: Laurel Aitken, Don Drummond, Lord Tanamo, No Doubt, Mustard Plug, Hopalong Knut, Reel Big Fish, Skadaddyz, The Toasters, The Skatalites, Less Kro, The Busters, One Cool Guy, The Selecter, RX Bandits, The Planet Smashers, Desmond Dekker, The Specials, The English Beat, Madness, Operation Ivy, Big D And The Kids Table, Bim Skala Bim, Catch 22, Buck-O-Nine, Streetlight Manifesto, The Suicide Machines, Troy's Bucket, Bad Manners, The Forces Of Evil, Go Jimmy Go, Upstanding Youth, Skarface, The Pietasters, Mad Caddies, Save Ferris, Suburban Legends, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, The O.C. Supertones, The Scofflaws, and Hepcat.
by ♫ Highway to Hell ♫ February 03, 2010
A genre of music stylized by the influences of American jazz and swing, born out of Jamaica. It underwent three waves, Trad(itional), Two-Tone, and 3rd wave. The guitar is always played on the off beats, or "upstrokes." The bass line is almost always a walking bass line unless the band is more punk influenced (however, ska is what helped bring about punk), and there is a horn line, usually with some swinging stuff. Ska gave birth to many different types of music, such as rocksteady, reggae, punk, rap and hip-hop (it's true).
Reel Big Fish (3rd wave), The Skatalites(trad), the toasters(3rd wave) and the specials(two-tone).
by Roadie August 16, 2004
A music genre created in Jamaica. The orginal music called ska is now called first wave. Then it went to England and became two tone because of racial unity between black and whites. Then it moved into America and became third wave because it was more punk influenced in America. Ska bands are defined because of the guitars and keyboards playing on the upbeat, not because of horn sections, which are also commonly ascociated with ska. Ska gave birth to reggae, rocksteady, dub, and punk. Ska is also considered the opposite of emo because emo is usually more sadder sounding whereas ska is more happy sounding. The horn sections in ska bands are usually made up of saxes, trumpets, and trombones.
First Wave Band - Skatalites
Two Tone Band - Specials
Third Wave Band - Toasters

-Hey man what are you listening to?
-Ska!
-Ska rules, man!
by TheSkaboss August 08, 2004
Ska is a type of music that has an upbeat guitar sound. It is normally acompanied by horns but not always. Ska has been around since the late 1950's and Reggae originated from it. Ska, today, has more of a punk influence to it. It was not originated from punk, since Ska came around before punk. The two sounds mixed together when Ska hit the America music scene.
The Skatalites, The Selecter, The Specials, etc.
by Adrian February 21, 2003
A genre of music often mis-identified by pop-rock, rap and country fans as being a new band rather than a whole genre.

"What do you listen to?"
"Ska"
"Oh, they must be new!"
by Hu$tla' $teve September 02, 2003

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