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.
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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. 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.