Byron Lee and the Dragonaires, Toots and the Maytals, Higgs & Wilson, The Melodians, The Clarendonians, The Blues Busters, Clue J & His Blues Blasters, The Paragons, The Silvertones, and Symarip were some of the other successful Jamaican ska bands that were actively performing during the first wave of ska in the 1960s.
The various cover versions of these songs and several other ska songs ensure that the genre spread across the world like wildfire.
The band 'Madness' (1976) was perhaps the first 2-Tone ska revival band to have gained public recognition for its music and seven member lineup. It went on to become one of the most successful ska bands in Britain with 15 UK top ten singles and famous songs such as The Prince and One Step Beyond (1979), House of Fun (1982), and Wings of a Dove (1983).
Another 2-Tone ska revival band that gained immense success was 'The Specials', which formed in 1977. Their lyrics stood out from the rest because they were more political and anti-racist in nature; all the while being upbeat and danceable. They became iconic for their 1960s' rude boy fashion, stage presence, and lyrics about unemployment and unhappiness with the system. Some examples of ska music that rose 'The Specials' to fame include Gangsters (1979), A Message To You, Rudy cover of the song by Dandy Livingstone (1979), Too Much Too Young and Rat Race (1980), and Ghost Town (1981).
Some other 2-Tone bands that came during the same time were The Beat (1978), UB40 (1978), The Selecter (1979), and The Body snatchers (1979). Stiff Records, 2 Tone Records, and Go Feet Records were the top three English record labels that signed 2-Tone and ska revivals bands.
The late 1980s once again witnessed the emergence of ska bands such as The Burial, The Hotknives, and Potato 5 whose music had distinct ska, 2-Tone, rocksteady, and punk rock musical influences. This period also saw the resurgence of trads/trojan/traditional skinheads who associated with the British skinhead working class subculture of the 1960s. British youth in the late 1980s were once again seen with close-cropped and shaved heads, and were influenced by the rude boys of Jamaica and British mods (modernists). These skinheads would listen to music composed and performed by black people and wished to be associated as non-political and non-racists.
Ska experienced a major surge in popularity in Europe where countries like Germany had the most number of notable ska-punk bands such as Skaos (1982), Blechreiz (1983) and The Busters (1987), all of which are actively present and continue to perform throughout the world. Mr. Review (a.k.a. Rude & Visser) is a revered ska revival band from Amsterdam that has been active since 1983. Mark Foggo's Skasters (1987) also contributed in the development of ska and upcoming band in Europe such as the French band, Skarface.
The Australians developed their own ska scene during the mid-1980s, with the band 'The Jumpers' starting this music movement in 1979. Other notable bands to introduce ska to Australia were the bands The Letters (1979), The Allniters (1980), Strange Tenants (1981), No Nonsense (1984) and The Porkers (1987), Area 7 (1994), Sounds Like Chicken (1999), and Loin Groin, The Resignators, and The Mouldy Lovers (2010).
✦ United States
Ska bands had come up all over the United States in the 1980s and spread to South America by mid-1980s. One of the first American ska bands that gained repute during the late 1970s were Fishbone (1979), The Uptones (1981)―who set the ska scene in California, and The Toasters (1981) who established themselves in New York City. The Toasters celebrated their 30th Anniversary with a world tour in 2011 and are the longest-running ska band in the U.S. Simultaneously, the Los Angeles ska band The Untouchables was formed, whose lead vocalist Kevin Long described the band's music as "mods who played ska music." The Bosstones (1983) and Operation Ivy (1987) brought forth more radical fusion of ska and punk rock, which led to the establishment of the subgenre of ska-punk. New-age ska-punk bands such as Let's Go Bowling (1986), No Doubt (1986), Sublime (1986 ), Skankin' Pickle (1989), Dance Hall Crashers (1989), Hepcat (1989), and Reel Big Fish (1991) gained notoriety for their unique musicality both at home and internationally. During this period, the record label Moon Ska Records (1983) founded by Robert "Bucket" Hingley from the band 'The Toasters' went on to become one of the largest labels dedicated to ska in the U.S. However, the record label became defunct in 2000 and was replaced with Megalith Records by the same owner.
The movement moved to Canada during the late 1980s and early 1990s as well, which resulted in ska bands such as King Apparatus (1987), The Planet Smashers (1991), and The Kingpins (1994). In South America, the ska band Los Fabulosos Cadillacs (1983) blended ska music with traditional music to form one of the most internationally recognized bands from Argentina. They also went on to win a Grammy in 1994 for Best Latin Rock/Alternative album.
✦ Japan - J-ska
Japanese or J-ska is a concoction of J-pop, punk, and ska-pop, which began as an offshoot of the third wave of ska during the 1980s. It also derives much of its inspiration from the Jamaican ska and reggae scene of the 1960s, which the musicians emulate in their native language. J-ska is very noticeable for its fervid vocals, peppy guitar rhythms, and the use of instruments such as the trombone, trumpet, saxophone, and drum and bass. Among the several ska bands that continue to perform and form every year, some notable ones include Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra (TSPO) (1985), The Boom (1986), Elizabeth Sakura Narita (1997), Mongol800 (1998), Dallax (1998), MidnightPumpkin (2002), and OreSkaBand (2003), etc., to name a few.
✦ Christian Ska
While ska became a global phenomenon, it continued to make an appearance in gospel and Christian music, much like how it began in Kingston, Jamaica. Christian ska bands began to emerge in a big way during the early 2000s and include Buck Enterprises (1994), The O. C. Supertones (1995), The Insyderz (1996), and Five Iron Frenzy (1995), The O.C. Supertones (1995), The Dingees (1996), and Squad Five-O (1997).