‘Buster, he sold the heat with a rocksteady beat’ – Ska legend Prince Buster R.I.P.

We are very sad to hear of the death of another musical giant, Cecil Campbell a.k.a Prince Buster, who passed away on September 8th aged 78. A giant in Jamaican music and a key figure in bringing ska, and later it’s slower cousin Rocksteady, to U.K. shores in the ’60s – he was also the first Jamaican to have a UK top 20 hit. In the 1950s Buster (his nickname was derived from his considerable boxing prowess and also because of Jamaican politician Sir Alexander Bustamante), would open his own record shop ‘Buster’s Record Shop’ on Orange Street (‘an earthquake is erupting…’) before also establishing his own sound system, ‘The Voice Of The People’. His own music production was prolific recording a number of early ska ’45s, including his seminal work with the Folks Brothers on ‘Oh Carolina’…

Later singles like Al Capone and One Step Beyond would have a lasting impact, big on UK dancefloors in the ’60s they would be resurrected in the late ’70s by the Specials and Madness who would go on to introduce a whole new generation to Buster’s music – Madness’s first single was a tribute to the great man, and if that wasn’t enough, they covered his song ‘Madness’ on the flip and no prizes for guessing where they got their band name from either!

In 2001 Buster was awarded the Order of Distinction in Jamaica for his contribution to the development of the country’s music industry. He had long since received countless accolades from his peers, but it was nonetheless fitting recognition for a man whose self-proclaimed title as King of Ska was never seriously disputed

Prince Buster, musician, born 24 May 1938; died 8 September 2016

Do you have a favourite Prince Buster song? Were you dancing to his Blue Beat in the ’60s, tell us your stories we’d love to know.

 

 

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