Throughout my musical career I have been influenced by many great artists. There are those who sing out in rebellion and those who wish to spread love all over the world.
I have compiled my list of top reggae bands, based on what I feel they have contributed to the field of reggae music.
Let me know if you agree with my choices. Who would you have in your top ten list of reggae bands?
In no particular order, I proudly present:
ROYAL REGGAE BANDS
The legendary Skatalites are a group of 10 talented musicians who formed a band in 1964. They were the pioneers of Ska Reggae music with its infectious blues, jazzy, fast, upbeat reggae;
The Skatalites started, playing in Kingston Studio during the 50’s and with Sir Coxson Dodd in the 60’s.
They became very popular, backing many well known artistes, Bob Marly, Toots and the Maytals and Ken Booth.
The Skatalites also played soundtracks to tv/films; songs “Stretching Out”, “Simmer Down” from the classic movie ‘The Guns Of Navarone’, Their track “Golden Love” featured in the spy genre movie ‘From Paris With Love’
Members of the Skatalites hailed from Jamaica, Cuba and Barbados and although most of the original members have passed away now, they have been replaced with new members and are still performing globally.
What I can I say about this band that you haven’t heard already? Well let’s just say that in my opinion they are the best! The Wailers had to be great. This is because to make any significant inroad in the business, the quality of their music had to be at the highest level. This group of musicians put their souls into playing. They created the vibe that drove the kings message throughout the world!
Reggae band The Wailers; we salute you!
The Wailers claimed international fame, with classic songs such as ‘Trench Town Rock’
Incorporating percussion and vocals, Jamaica’s Reggae royalty band with teenagers Bob Marley 17, Peter Tosh 18 and Neville Livingston 15 was formed in 1963. Originally called ‘ The Wailing Rude boys’ they decided on ‘The Wailers’
The Wailers adopted the Rastafari faith, life style and dreadlocks largely due to a visit in 1966 from His imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia who embraced and endorsed the Rastafarian movement.
During the 60’s & 70’s the Wailer’s band line-up changed but the style and quality of the music they produced was not compromised as they embodied the soul and essence of Jamaica.
Third World are one of my personal favourites. Mr Bunny rugs (RIP) is one for my favourite singers, with his incredible voice. Third World also have one of the world’s greatest guitarists, Mr Cat Core. Big up Ritchie and all the members of Third World, you are a truly great band.
Reggae greats Third World; we salute you!
Third World, the reggae ambassador’s name originated through the members. They were consciously aware that they had a natural connection with the “rhythm of life”. They saw this as connecting black people through this world, plus the second world as they term it, the technological age. Third World is a combination of both of these influences.
This Jamaican roots reggae band of trained talented musicians, started in 1973. The band formed from other bands/musicians such as Inner Circle Burning Spear, Ken Boothe. Thirld World are known for their international hit song “Now That We Found Love”. They successfully and effectively infused Reggae music with other genres. (Pop, R&B, Soul, folk-pop, hard rock,Bossa nova, rap, Calypso etc). Bassist Richard Daley quotes, “we took roots reggae music and put branches on top of it”. This is what became known internationally.
Third World worked with various record labels such as Cleopatra, Island, Columbia, Mercury, Third World Music Group.
The band was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award. This was at the Jamaica Jazz and Blues festival in Montego Bay Jamaica, in January 2013.
Third World’s members have changed over the years for various reasons. However they still keep their memento. They also still continue to perform internationally.
To this day Aswad are the UK’s leading reggae band. They formed in the seventies in the heart of West London. Aswad captured the spirit of the young black youths growing up in the inner city’s around the UK. During the 80’s and 90’s, they were also hugely instrumental to the rasta culture amongst the youths
Reggae greats Aswad; we salute you!
Aswad meaning ‘Black’ (Arabic) are a UK Reggae band that achieved international success and acclaim. Formed in 1975 in the heart of west London, Brindsley Forde, Drummie Zeb and Tony Gad Robinson signed with Island Record label They were the first London band to be signed to Island Records and stamped their place in the global music market with a cover version of Tina Turners’ single “Don’t turn around”
Their music is an infusion of soul, funk, jazz, roots reggae, lovers rock and pop, reflecting their experiences of inner city life, racial tension and the police,
Aswad duo Tony and Drummie continue to perform in Europe. Ex member Brindsley is now a solo artist/presenter. Brindsley Forde received an MBE in 2015 for his career as an entertainer.
Steel Pulse is another one of our great UK bands hailing from Birmingham, in the Midlands. What a great sound they have and their message is one of love. Who can forget their anthem ‘Ku Klux Klan’. Steel Pulse was even invited to the white house for Bill Clinton’s inauguration party. Big up the Pulse.
Reggae greats Steel Pulse; we salute you!
Throughout their decades of success, Steel Pulse brought us hits such as the “Klu Klux Klan “ David Hinds, Basil Gabbidon, and Ronald McQueen met when they all attended the same boys school. Their parents settled in Birmingham from the Caribbean where the young men taught themselves music and began to compile and perform their amazing body of work.
The name ‘Steel Pulse’ was inspired by a racehorse and the band were recognisable by David Hinds’s trademark high top dreadlock.
Steel Pulse was inspired by many Jamaican artists and embraced the Rastafarian faith . They sang about their African roots, the bible and politics, with love, peace and justice at the forefront.
From humble beginnings they reached international success. Their music infused with latin and jazz has also been embraced by the punk community, as they toured with the “Stranglers”.
Steele Pulse performed at Bill Clinton’s inaugural celebration and were the first non Jamaican band to receive a Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album.
Steel Pulse still retain their original perspective and continue to perform.
From the hills of St Thomas to the USA and back to Jamaica, The Morgan heritage family of musicians have brought such a great freshness to our music. Great vocals, sweet harmonies and fantastic live performances. Morgan Heritage are thrilling audiences around the world.
I must give props to their father for the guidance and direction he has given his talented children.
Reggae band Morgan heritage; we salute you!
Morgan Heritage are today’s Reggae royalty composing reggae music that reflects positive spirituality and the spirit of Rastafarian. Their style combines roots, reggae and lovers rock,
Morgan Heritage is a family band made up of siblings. Their father reggae singer Denroy Morgan was lead vocalist for the Black Eagles and a member of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. As a rastafarian, Denroy raised his children spiritually, and exposed them to music.
The Morgan Heritage band have had a stream of international hits and ‘Down by the River’ has become an anthem for reggae music.
Music dominates this family as the grandchildren continue the dynasty.
Morgan Heritage continue to perform globally
We The People
Ah my bredrin from North West London. Formerly known as the ‘Undivided Roots’. Ruff Cutt are the band with the real reggae sound in the UK. They have worked with almost every reggae artist that made it out of Jamaica. They support all of the UK acts including Don Campbell and myself.
Reggae greats Ruff Cutt; we salute you!
Inner Circle, what can I say? It’s as if they’ve been around for ages. The great Jacob Miller used to sing with this group. They achieved great international success with the song, ‘Bad Boys’. Inner Circle are still touring all over the world. If they are ever in your town, I recommend you check dem, cause it’s likely to be a great show.
Reggae greats Inner Circle; we salute you!