The Top Reggae Bands of All Time | Reggae Lover Podcast Episode 74

I curated some of the biggest hits from legendary bands: Third World, Israel Vibration, Inner Circle, Aswad, Black Uhuru, and Steel Pulse – groups who have presented fabulous reggae music performances and recordings for nearly half a century.

Reggae Lover Podcast

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Third World is a Jamaican reggae band formed in 1973. Their sound is influenced by soul, funk, and disco. Although it has undergone several line-up changes, Stephen “Cat” Coore and Richard Daley have been constant members.

Steel Pulse is a roots reggae musical band, from the Handsworth area of Birmingham, England, which has a large number of Afro-Caribbean, Indian and other Asian migrants. They originally formed at Handsworth Wood Boys School – composed of David Hinds (lead vocals, guitar), Basil Gabbidon (lead guitar, vocals), and Ronald McQueen (bass); along with Basil’s brother Colin briefly on drums. Steel Pulse was the first non-Jamaican act to win the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album.

Black Uhuru is a Jamaican reggae group formed in 1972, initially as Uhuru (Swahili for ‘freedom’). The group has undergone several line-up changes over the years, with Derrick “Duckie” Simpson as the mainstay. They had their most successful period in the 1980s, with their album Anthem winning the first ever Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album in 1985.

Aswad is a long-lasting British reggae group, noted for adding strong R&B and soul influences to the reggae sound. They have been performing since the mid-1970s, having released a total of 21 albums. “Aswad” means “black” in Arabic.

Inner Circle is a Jamaican reggae group. The group was originally called The Inner Circle Band and formed in 1968. The band achieved major success in the 1970s with Jacob Miller as their lead singer but split up after his death in 1980. They reformed in 1986 and had a major hit with the 1987 song “Bad Boys”, which serves as the theme song for the long-running Spike (formerly Fox Network) television program COPS.[1] They are also well known for their song “Sweat (A La La La La Long),” a big hit in the U.S. in the early 1990s. The band is known for blending pop and rock with reggae.

Israel Vibration is a reggae harmony group, originating from Kingston, Jamaica. Lascelle “Wiss” Bulgin, Albert “Apple Gabriel” Craig, and Cecil “Skelly” Spence all overcame childhood polio and went on to be one of the most successful roots groups to form in Jamaica in the 1970s. The trio initially met as children at a rehabilitation center.

I would also want to make mention of bands like Fab 5, UB40, Big Mountain, SOJA, Tribal Seeds, Raging Fyah, and there are and have been 1000’s of musical ensembles that dedicated themselves to pushing the reggae music envelope. Big ups to all singers and players of instruments.

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Re-Introducing the Mystic Revealers: Crucial Cuts

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Billy Mystic & The Mystic Revealers are back with a new collection of hits titled, ‘Crucial Cuts’ instores September 16, 2014.

Mystic Revealers - Crucial Cuts - Artwork

Mystic Revealers – Crucial Cuts – Artwork

The album features 13 of their best loved songs including; ‘Rasta Man’, ‘Space & Time’, and ‘Tell Them’ featuring Sizzla. ‘Crucial Cuts’ will introduce a whole new generation of reggae fans to the music of the Mystic Revealers.

Burning Spear Wins Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album

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Burning Spear - Jah is Real - album art Burning Spear has been awarded the Grammy for Best Reggae Album for Jah is Real, released by Burning Music Production.

Burning Spear, AKA Winston Rodney, OD, previously won a Grammy award for Best Reggae Album in 2000 for his Calling Rastafari album. He’s been nominated for 10 other Grammy Awards, most recently last year’s award, but the 2007 Grammy award winner was Stephen Marley, for Mind Control.

Burning Spear is a roots reggae artiste in the classic sense, hailing from Jamaica and reknowned for the Rastafari messages of his music.

Other nominees in the Best Reggae Album Grammy category for 2008 included:

  • Elephant Man, for Let’s Get Physical, released by VP Records/Bad Boy
  • Heavy D, for Vibes, released by Stride/Universal
  • Lee “Scratch” Perry, for Repentance, released by Narnack Records
  • Shaggy, for Intoxication, also released by VP Records
  • Sly & Robbie, for Amazing, released by Fontana International

Burning Spear, AKA Winston Rodney

The Grammy Awards (a shortening of the original name, the “Gramophone Awards”) are presented annually by the US National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences for outstanding achievements in the music industry. The Grammies were established in 1958 – this year was the 51st annual Grammy Awards.

Reggae Grammys have been awarded since 1985, when Black Uhuru was awarded the first Reggae Grammy for Anthem. At that time, and until 1991, it was officially the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Recording. Since then, it has become the Grammy award for the Best Reggae Album (Vocal or Instrumental).

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