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Music History

One of the few aspects of reggae that was purely a British invention. Although incredibly popular,  the lovers rock scene was largely underground. The day after Janet Kay was on Top Of The Pops  with Silly Games at Number     Two, she was late for work.Luckily her boss was            sympathetic. […]

Roots Reggae truly put Jamaican music on the map as a bona fide protest movement. Rastas were so despised within polite Jamaican society that at one point the police      were under orders to shoot them first and question them after. The most famous           Jamaican in the country’s history is […]

In the late-60s/early-70s sections of the British music press and BBC radio actively       campaigned to keep Reggae off the airwaves Millie Small’s “My Boy Lollipop” stunned  the music industry by being a huge hit in UK & US (1964). When Bob & Marcia had       their big UK hits, they came here […]

No toasting… no rap! Jamaican deejay style is the founding father of American rap. In 1970   the top five positions in the Jamaican hit parade were held by deejay records and producers of singers complained so loudly, deejay records were banned from the Top 20. Jamaican      deejay culture is the driving force behind […]

Reggae music stripped back to the bass ‘n’ drum foundation and rebuilt to reveal tunes you  never knew existed. No dub… no remix culture… no Fatboy Slim… no Zero 7… in fact not   much at all 25 years on King Tubby remains dub’s rightful ruler. In cyberpunk novel            “Neuromancer” Rastafarian […]

Sound systems are the heartbeat at the centre of all meaningful Jamaican music. During the  last forty years, sound system culture has spread all over the world essentially unchanged.   They appear in a pure Jamaican form for the Notting Hill Carnival with systems such as       Aba Shanti-I and Good Times being huge crowd […]

Soul based style that slowed the beat right down from ska – you literally rocked, steadily –    and it put the emphasis on singing.The Wailers had an act in the Rock Steady era entirely    based on Curtis Mayfield’s Impressions, and even copied one of their album sleeves.It’s said that the style was developed […]

Ska is the rollicking, raucous music that perfectly summed up the mood of the people as they approached Independence at the beginning of the 1960s and wanted to announce their        Jamaicanness with as much gusto as possible. Even without Independence, ska happening when it did isn’t surprising at all. Kingston’s sound system […]

Imagine Jamaica at the end of the 1950s, already gripped by Independence fever as the new nation prepares for the lowering of the flag in 1962. In downtown Kingston the sound systems are booming and competition for the freshest tunes is ferocious. Of course the imported sounds of American rhythm & blues won’t satisfy these […]