As this entered UK charts on 26 Jan 1980, and reckoning it would have sold well enough in first week of release to chart, I would put the release date as 18 Jan 1980 (see also ILPS9000's comments at foot of page - and, I now see, Problem Child has also this date).
The dates given in Guinness Hit Singles books, at this time, are Saturdays, 8 days after the Friday most records seem to have been released, eg 18 Jan, 25 Jan
On that subject...I saw them at the Cliffs in Sarfend two/three years back. A guy I knew was First Aid cover and he said the venue management were tearing their hair out as the place was absolutely rammed tight yet they had sold the same number of tickets, i.e. sell out, as the night before for JLS, but then the place was just barely full as normal safety rules allowed. They feared a fair number had skived their way in which may cause the gig to be cancelled on H&S grounds. However the gig went ahead as the management had worked out that the average size of a Specials fan now was that much older, larger, fatter and took up more room than a JLS fan so the place seemed fuller!
I have to say it is the first time for many a year I have felt a dancefloor drop as a band started up!
Just to add to the recent comments... thought people would like to know that the picture was taken at The Lyceum on 9th December '79, early during the gig. The bill was;- The Selecter, The Beat and UB40, tickets were £2:50p. The 'black face' in the trilby was a guy in the year below me in the lower sixth form at my school (in Tottenham), which I'd left by then, to his left in a black hat is then girlfriend. I saw them walk in just before UB40 (first on) but decided to leave them alone, until he spotted me and called me over, by which time the photo had been taken ! There was an article about 'Two-Tone' in Record Collector about 3 years ago and they contacted him to talk about it - apparently he works at a University in the US now. Can't throw any light on the guy on the front left though... Ya right mickey rat... I've dined out on this for years telling my mates that I'm not in it !! By the way, from my records made at the time, I have a release date of 18th January for this.
Good point Zabadak, perhaps this picture was used due to a high percentage of females in shot? Contrast and compare to last year's re-recording where the average audience age has kept pace with that of the band.
Jeez, this is playing havoc with my peace of mind. Did this guy ever know he was grafted into this pic? Did he proudly show it to his mates or is he a sad middle-aged geezer still unaware that his image was used? Should somebody contact him or should I just take a pill and forget about it?
I always smile when I see this sleeve pic - it's such a good audience shot. I can just see the people up the front showing it to their mates when the record came out. And they're all middle aged now. Sad really.
Note that this single shares a catalogue number with Elvis Costello and The Attractions "I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down", which was released on 2 Tone inbetween the end of Radar Records (EC's previous label) and the new F-Beat label. The initial copies of the EC disc have the 2 Tone catalogue number in the inner grooves, but were eventually changed to the (future) F-Beat number.
The release date for The Special A.K.A. Live EP above says it was released in Dec 1979, but the copyright dates on the sleeve and disc labels both say (P) & (C)1980 Chrysalis Records Limited (as do the labels on the EC disc). I think the 1979 date must be wrong.
I believe that the EC disc was released first, and then they realised they had already allocated the number to The Special A.K.A. EP, probably because they had printed the picture sleeves to that disc first. This would explain why the matrix number to the EC single was changed to the (future) F-Beat number, as they needed to be able to distinguish at the pressing plant which one was which.