The Skatalites

Reggae/ska band

The Skatalites. © David Corio, MICHAEL OCHS ARCHIVES/Venice, CA

The Skatalites. © David Corio, MICHAEL OCHS ARCHIVES/Venice, CA

Although many people today would associate ska with bands like The Specials, The English Beat, and Crawdaddy, it was actually The Skatalites, formed in 1963, that pioneered this musical sound. Lasting only 14 months after their original inception, this ground-breaking band has made some major comebacks. In 1984 they performed at The Reggae Sunsplash Festival in London and released the album Return of the Big Guns that same year. More recently, The Skatalites have composed two more albums accompanied with live performances. The 1990s marked the group’s fourth decade together, during which they have gained wide-spread popularity since their reunion. In an effort to meet the demand for their colorful, electrifying shows, The Skatalites continue to tour year round.

“When I came back to Jamaica in 1962, there was this tune there, ‘Schooling the Duke.’ lt was tearing down the airwaves,” recalled original Skatalites leader Tommy McCook in a 1984 interview with David Rodigan of Capital Radio London. He was impressed by the jazzy sounds of Johnny “Dizzy” Moore and Don Drummond, who both played on the tune. A jazz musician himself, McCook was peforming one night when he was approached by Moore and Drummond and asked to record with them. McCook initially refused but eventually joined the band that would later become The Skatalites.

During the 1960s, members of the band were heavily involved with recording sessions in Jamaica. They are also credited with inspiring the Britsh two-tone movement of the late seventies and early eighties. While recording primarily for producer Clement “Sir Coxsone” Dodd of Studio One, they performed with other acts such as the Charms, the Maytals, the Wailers, and the Heptanes.

The Last Gig

Although band members continued to perform with other artists, The Skatalites officially broke up in the summer of 1965. “Our last gig was at the Runaway Bay Hotel, Police Dance,” one Skatalite remembered in the 1984 interview. However, a new band, Soul Vendors, was subsequently formed and included the likes of Johnny Moore, Jackie Mittoo, Lloyd Brevette, and Bunny Williams.

Tragedy struck the band on May 6, 1969, when one of the founding Skatalites members, Don Drummond, died mysteriously while in a mental hospital. He had been plagued with mental problems for years, which perhaps influenced his music. “He was great, the sounds he produced,” commented McCook in his interview with Rodigan. “And the way he played his horn…would make you wonder you know…it was all so moonfull, sometimes you could cry inside.” McCook also suggested that Drummond’s death involved foul play—possibly as the result of a 1965 incident in which Drummond, in an angry rage, stabbed his girlfriend Marguerita to death. She was the daughter of an alleged mafia family.

Drummond’s Music Lives On

Drummond had written some songs that were posthumously recorded, allowing his music to survive. McCook acquired the compositions after one bandmember collected them during Drummond’s arrest. For years he retained the music as a memory, but McCook eventually decided to record it. “I took the music…to the piano,” he told Rodigan, ” and started to put the changes to it and things like that and it came out nice.” Before his death, Drummond had won several jazz trombonist awards.

One of the first Jamaican acts to sign with Island records, The Skatalites reached the British Top 40 with “Guns of Navarone” in 1967. The same year the Skatalites ceased recording under that name, although most members remained involved in Jamaican music. Some pursued solo careers, while others moved to England and became session musicians. One member, Rico Rodriguez, played horns on The Specials self-titled debut album in 1979, which incidentally was produced by the legendary Elvis Costello.

“Synergy” Reunited the Band

But it was “synergy” that reunited the band, as McCook declared to Rodigan. Playing for a whole new generation, The Skatalites released Ska Voovee in 1993, which contained 11 new instrumental songs, including a tribute to Drummond called “The Don,” featuring his replacement in the band, jazz trombonist Steve Turre. Reunited band members include Tommy McCook, Ron Wilson, Lester Sterling, Lloyd Knibbs, and Lloyd Brevette. According to Geoffrey Himes of theWashington Post, “The two Lloyds once again serve up the push-and-pull rhythms—with their emphasis on the off-beat—that first defined ska as something different from North American R&B and set the stage for reggae.” This “off-beat” sound has influenced the music of many modern artists, who have sampled Skatalites rhythms to blend with their own.

Although The Skatalites defined the ska sound in the 1960s, most of the original members began their careers as jazz musicians, and with the 1994 release of Hi-Bop Ska, the band seems to have come full circle. The founding members “at the core of this reformed ensemble reaffirm their jazz roots in vibrant style here,” opined Down Beat‘s Larry Birnbaum. “New compositions blend easily with classics like ‘Guns of Navarone’ and ‘Man in the Street.'” In 1995 McCook suffered a heart attack and was forced to take a hiatus from his busy touring schedule. But this didn’t prevent him from returning to the studio to record 1996’s Greetings from Skamania. A biography released by Shanachie Entertainment asserted that the result of this effort is “a lava-hot album that exemplifies the best the Skatalites have to offer. Pounding ska beats and blistering jazz solos blend seamlessly together to create an album that feels simultaneously cutting-edge fresh and tempered-steel classic. Greetings from Skamania!”

For the Record .. .

Members include Roland Alphonso, tenor sax; Gladstone Anderson, keyboards; Theophilus Beckford, keyboards; Lloyd Brevette, bass; Baba Brooks, trumpet; Karl Bryan, alto sax;Drumbago, drums; Don Drummond (d. May 6, 1969), trombone; Bobby Ellis, trumpet;Raymond Harper, trumpet; Jah Jerry (b. Jerome Hines), guitar; Hugh Malcolm, drums; Tommy McCook, trumpet, tenor sax; Jackie Mittoo (d. 1988), keyboards; Johnny “Dizzy” Moore,fluegelhorn, trumpet; Lloyd Nibbs, bass, percussions; Ernest Ranglin, guitar; Rico Rodriguez,trombone; Lester Sterling, alto sax.

Group formed in 1963 in Jamaica; released Ska Authentic in 1963; disbanded 1965; reunited 1983, 1993; signed with Shanachie c. 1983; credited with inspiring the British two-tone movement of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Addresses: Business agent—Abby Hoffer Enterprises, 223½ E. 48th St., New York, NY 10017. Fan club— PO Box 391079, Cambridge, MA 02139-1079.

Selected discography

Ska Authentic, Studio One, 1963.

Legendary Skatalites, Top Ranking, 1975.

African Roots, United Artists, 1977.

Scattered Lights, Aligator, 1984.

Ska Voovee, Shanachie, 1993.

Hi-Bop Ska, Shanachie, 1994.

Greetings from Skamania, Shanachie, 1996.



Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll, edited by Jon Pareles, Rolling Stone Press/Summit Books, 1983.


Down Beat, June 1995.

Washington Post, March 4, 1994.


The Boston Ska Home Page: http//

Additional information was obtained from Shanachie Entertainment press materials, 1996.

Maria L. Munoz

The Toasters

The Toasters was one of the first American bands in the third wave of ska, and is one of the longest active third wave ska bands.
They have released nine studio albums, most of them on Moon Ska Records. The Toasters experienced a small degree of commercial success in the late 1990s due to the popularity of third wave ska in North America. Their song “Two-Tone Army” is also the theme song for the Nickelodeon show KaBlam! (credited as the Moon Ska Stompers) and they recorded background music in many TV commercials, including for America Online and Coca-Cola. Their song “Don’t Let The Bastards Grind You Down” appeared in the pilot episode of the animated series Mission Hill. They still perform around the world, and in 2007 they celebrated their 25th Anniversary with a new studio album, One More Bullet.

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The English Beat



Formed in the working class suburbs of industrial Birmingham in England in 1978 The Beat arose at a time of high unemployment and social upheaval. From the outset the band offered messages of hope and peace with an insight into sociopolitical topics would later alongside The Specials see them heralded as forerunners of the whole 2-Tone Ska movement.

Ranking Roger and Dave Wakeling led with vocal duties while Andy Cox and David Steele took guitar and bass duties with Everett Morton supplying the most distinctive of drumming styles. Added to this mix was the renowned saxophonist Saxa, adding the deliciously warm Jamaican ska instrumental flavour that is forever associated with the bands sound. Having played saxophone with Prince Buster, Laurel Aitken and Desmond Dekker in the first wave of ska The Beat on formation seemed to immediately come of age.

The Beat’s first single was the infectious cover of Smokey Robinson’s ‘Tears of A Clown’ which on release went straight into the National Top 10 at No.6. The record, an effortless like fusion between a number of different musical styles such as Ska, Punk, Pop, Soul and Reggae, immediately saw the band finding themselves an overnight success.

Further hit singles from the first album included ‘Mirror In The Bathroom’, ‘Can’t Get Used to Losing You’, ‘Hands Off… She’s Mine’ and ‘Best Friend’, and with a catalogue such as this it was easy to see why the The Beat would become one of the most popular recording and live acts in the UK.

Huge radio airplay followed in the US which saw The Beat head stateside and then further with world tours alongside some of the biggest performing artists such as The Clash, The Police, REM, Talking Heads, The Pretenders and of course The Specials.

While The Beat could deliver with what almost seemed effortless ease songs of Love, Peace and Unity. Songs such as ‘Stand Down Margaret’ saw them spearhead a movement wanting real social change and multicutural inclusion. The thousands that sang along in unison with the band at nuclear disarmament marches bear testament to the uplifting feeling the band could evoke with their musical swagger and genuine care for humanity.

After 3 Gold and Platinum top selling albums worldwide with ‘I Just Cant Stop It’, ‘Wh’appen’, and ‘Special Beat Service’ – The Beat’s musical fluidity and openess, delivered in their explosive all encompassing live shows allowed them to reach hundreds of thousands of fans across the world, communicating positivity and freedom through not only their music, but their actions and genuine commitment to causes.

Almost in reaction to the height of their fame The Beat to the disbelief of many disbanded with Ranking Roger and Dave Wakeling forming General Public with Mickey Billingham of Dexys Midnight Runners and Andy Cox and David Steele putting together the Fine Young Cannibals. Though both enjoyed phenomenal success, no other artist has sounded like The Beat or indeed is ever likely too. Ranking Roger also briefly joined Mick Jones’ post-Clash band Big Audio Dynamite injecting his toasting and vocal style that to this day remains his trademark.

After numerous offers to return to the stage The Beat returned in 2003 for a sell out show at The Royal Festival Hall with the inclusion of Ranking Jnr taking vocal duties to an accolade of critical acclaim. With Dave Wakeling heading to the US Ranking Roger alongside Everett Morton, Ranking Jnr and Mickey Billingham returned to their roots with deeper rhythms, a wall of sound that transcends time and an unwavering dedication to real unity and love that leaves the future still to be written, there can be no question…

…The Beat are back!


For the ska scene, the spectacular two-CD compilation Skarmageddon was proof positive that the third wave had swept across every corner of the country, and held out hope of it finally washing out into the mainstream. With zero interest from the majors, little hope of airplay outside one’s own locale, and only the brave (and foolhardy) touring the underbelly of clubs outside their region, only rumor and fanzines gave hint to what was happening elsewhere. Skarmageddon would change all that, helping to pull together a disparate scene and present a united face to the larger world. It was, however, not a partially representative selection of bands, nor was it by any means a best-of-the-scene compilation, although some extremely good bands can be found within. Instead it’s a snapshot of the times, intended as a leg up for bands that hadn’t yet or were just beginning to make an impact. Two years earlier, in 1992, Moon Ska had released the seminal California Ska-Quake set. No encores for those bands, however, as a new crew of two would now represent the Golden State.Those Mid-Westerners that had featured on Jump Up’s equally crucial 1993 American Skathiccompilation were luckier. Several would be picked up by Moon for Skarmageddon. And so the set trawled the States, pulling in bands from as far afield as Seattle, Portland, Maine, and Tampa, FL, with even a stray Canadian managing to sneak over the border and onto the set. Thirty-one bands in all, together providing a perfect primer for the vast variety of sounds to be found around the scene. And although the majority of the groups are 2 Tone-based (this is a Moon release after all), there’s plenty of spatters of skacore and trad to give a fair shake to the entire third wave scene. For some groups this was just the beginning, with a good number going on to then release stellar albums off the back of their performances here. For others, notably Agent 99, it was to prove to be their swan songs. Not a complete overview of ska circa 1994, but a thrilling ride through what was on offer, nonetheless, and remains a must-have set for every pork-pie-hatted fan. by Jo-Ann Greene

The Skatalites

Before the Skatalites: 1954-1964
The founders of the Skatalites were Tommy McCook (died 1998), Rolando Alphonso (died 1998), Lloyd Brevett, Lloyd Knibb (died 2011), Lester Sterling, Don Drummond (died 1969), Jah Jerry Haynes (died 2007), Jackie Mittoo (died 1990), Johnny Moore (died 2008) and Jackie Opel (died 1970). These ten musicians started to play together from 1955, when Kingston’s recording studios started to develop. Tommy McCook was the first member of the band to record, though not for commercial release: he played with Don Hitchman’s Group in 1953. Archie Lindo asked Hitchman to play few tunes for his pioneer radio station, “ZQI”, on their new equipment. Soon after that, sound system pioneer Stanley Motta began to operate his studio, where he recorded calypso and mento that were released on 78’s. Rolando Alphonso was one of the first to record with him, probably in 1954.
Though McCook was the first in the band to record, he did not participate in the recording sessions with the other nine musicians. He left Jamaica in 1954 for a jazz gig at the Zanzibar Club in Nassau, Bahamas. He returned to Jamaica in June 1962, and began playing regular jazz sessions around Kingston.
Coxsone Dodd searched for jazz players around Kingston and was impressed by McCook’s playing. Tommy McCook heard some ska, but initially resisted Coxsone Dodd’s offers to record and to lead a studio group, because he was a committed jazzman. In 1962 Dodd released I Cover The Waterfront (Port-O-Jam) with Roland Alphonso and Don Drummond, who did the solo and brass sections. In 1963 he released Jazz Jamaica From the Workshop (Port-O-Jam/Studio One), on which McCook played for the first time since returning to Jamaica. Don Drummond has two tunes on Jazz Jamaica and McCook has one, “The Answer”.
[edit]Early years: 1964-1965
In spring 1964, The Skatalites recorded their first LP Ska Authentic at Studio One in Kingston and toured Jamaica as the creators of ska. Their producers were Coxsone Dodd, Duke Reid, Prince Buster, Vincent “King” Edwards, Justin “Phillip” Yap, Leslie Kong, Lindon Pottinger, Sonia Pottinger and Vincent “Randy” Chin. The Skatalites led sessions with top artists and worked with young talents such as Delroy Wilson, Desmond Dekker, The Wailers, Lee Perry, etc.
They played their first show on 27 June at the Hi-Hat club, on Water Lane in Rae Town, which was owned and operated by Orville “Billy” Farnum. Coxsone Dodd helped initially: “At the formation of the band, I supplied the PA system, microphones and what ever it is. Also the guitar amplifier and other amplifier. I helped with transportation and I supplied storage for equipment and instruments. I was a part of promoting the first gigs and other gigs to get it off the ground, because I figured more or less, if I am recording the Skatalites, its good to get them popular out in the streets, yunno?”[citation needed]
In fall 1964, Don Drummond’s composition, “Man in the Street”, entered the Top 10 in the UK. Trombonist Drummond had at least 200 tunes to his name by 1965. On 1 January 1965, Don Drummond was jailed for the murder of his girlfriend, Anita “Marguerita” Mahfood. He was later convicted and remanded to the Bellevue Asylum.
In August 1965, The Skatalites played their last show. They broke up into two supergroups, Rolando Alphonso and the Soul Vendors and Tommy McCook and the Supersonics. In early 1967, Don Drummond’s ska adaptation of the theme to the film The Guns of Navarone entered the Top 40 of the UK Singles Chart.[2] Don Drummond died on 6 May 1969, in the Bellevue Asylum.
[edit]Reunion: 1983-1998
In June 1983, The Skatalites reformed and played Reggae Sunsplash festival in Montego Bay in July. Their show was very successful[citation needed] and the band played more concerts in Jamaica while taking offers to tour abroad. Their rehearsal sessions resulted in a clutch of new songs which were recorded in Music Mountain Studio but only released in 2007 on Motion Records (as ‘Rolling Steady: The 1983 Music Mountain Sessions’). The album included their tribute to Don Drummond, ‘Big Trombone’, with Lord Tanamo on vocals. In April 1984, The Skatalites recorded a second reunion album, The Return of The Big Guns, released on Mango Records in the U.K. On 7 July 1984, The Skatalites played to thousands at Selhurst Park during the London Sunsplash. The Skatalites played seven tunes and also backed Prince Buster on three before closing with a reprise of their theme song, “Freedom Sounds”.
Between 1985 and 1988, the core members of the Skatalites emigrated and united in the northeast of the United States. They played their first US concert at The Village Gate and began to play spotted dates in Northeast US.
In April 1989, The Skatalites supported Bunny Wailer’s Liberation Tour featuring 7 original members: Tommy McCook, Roland Alphonso, Lester Sterling, Johnny Moore, Jackie Mittoo, Lloyd Brevett, and Lloyd Knibb with special guests Dion Knibb on vocals, Devon James on guitar, and Ken Stewart on keyboards. In January 1990, The Skatalites did their first headline tour of the US with the same lineup except Jackie Mittoo and Lester Sterling. On 16 December 1990, Jackie Mittoo died in Toronto, Canada from cancer. Between 1991 and 1993, The Skatalites continued touring the US and in 1992 did their first tour of Europe.
In 1993, Skavoovee was released in the US on Shanachie Records and in Japan as McCooke’s Book. The Skavoovee tour featuring The Skatalites, Special Beat, The Selecter, and The Toasters tours the US.The Skatalites were nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of Best Reggae Album twice: In January 1996, for their 1995 Shanachie release, Hi-Bop Ska and in January 1997, for their 1996 Shanachie release, Greetings From Skamania.
In 1997, The Skatalites released Ball of Fire on Island Records with special guest Ernest Ranglin on guitar. On 5 May 1998, Tommy McCook died near his home in Lithonia, Georgia. On 17 November 1998, Rolando Alphonso died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California.
[edit]Band without McCook and Alphonso: 1999-present
On 27 March 1999, Cedric Brooks (tenor sax) joined The Skatalites and in May 2000, The Skatalites record a new album, “Bashaka”, at The Hit Factory in Miami, featuring 15 original tracks and special guest Ken Boothe on a vocal track. On 26 and 27 December 2001, The Skatalites recorded new album in Paris at Davout Studios for Melodie Records and released as From Paris with Love on 15 April 2002. In February 2002, The Skatalites began a nine month World Tour, visiting USA, Europe, Mexico, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Russia and Japan.
In April 2003, The Skatalites returned to the studio with Toots Hibbert to record a contribution to his new album, True Love. They recorded “Never Grow Old” with Terry Hall and U-Roy. The album subsequently won a Grammy in 2004. In March 2004, The Skatalites announced the beginning of their 40th Anniversary tour including Colombia, Greece and Singapore, in addition to the usual global stops. Vin Gordon and Karl Bryan joined the band.
In 2005, original member Lloyd Brevet left the band, toured briefly leading his own band, and then retired to Jamaica. In April of that year, the Skatalites started a new world tour with their new bass player Val Douglas, whose A-Team band was the primary backing band for Reggae Sunsplash Tours through the 1980s and 1990s. In October 2005, The Skatalites released The Skatalites in Orbit, Vol.1 recorded live in Buenos Aires, recorded during concerts on 23 and 24 September 2005.
In March 2006, The Skatalites played at La Bal De La Rose for Caroline, Princess of Hanover, along with Jimmy Cliff, The Wailers and Alpha Blondy. This show started the 2006 Global Orbit Tour reaching Australia, New Zealand, Chile and Argentina. In April 2006, Skatalites recorded 11 new tunes and one cover in Byron Bay, Australia at the 301 Studios. The new release “On The Right Track” is forthcoming.
In May 2007, On The Right Track was released worldwide by AIM International, Australia. In September 2007, The Skatalites contributed the track “Be My Guest”, with Ben Harper on vocals, for the Fats Domino tribute CD Goin’ Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino featuring numerous artists. This CD raised funds for all the musicians affected by Hurricane Katrina.
On the 12th of May, 2011, founding member and drummer Lloyd Knibb died of liver cancer at age 80.[3]

Bim Skala Bim

Bim Skala Bim, formed in BostonMassachusetts, was a third wave ska band that started in 1983 and remained active until 2002. They were influenced by the bands in England‘s 2 Tone movement, as well as bands such as the ClashUB40 and Bob Marley. They released several albums and they started their own record label, BiB Records, to release some of their own music as well as music by other ska bands.

Bim Skala Bim was founded by vocalist Dan Vitale and bassist Mark Ferranti. Its lineup has also included drummer Jim Arhelger, percussionist Rick Barry, keyboard player John Cameron, trombonist John Ferry, guitarist Jim Jones, keyboardist Robin Ducot, guitarist Ephraim Lessell, drummer John Sullivan, trombonist Vinnie Noble, trombonist Mark Paquin and saxophonist Dave Butts, singer Jackie Starr, singer, Lauren Flesher, trombonist Chris Rhodes, and trombonist Walt Bostian.

On November 20, 2009 it was announced that Bim Skala Bim would reunite to open for the Mighty Mighty Bosstones at Night #3 of their twelfth “Hometown Throwdown” on Monday, December 28.

Dis is Ska


The Story of Jamaican Music – From Ska to Reggae

After World War IIJamaicans purchased radios in increasing numbers and were able to hear rhythm and blues music from Southern United States cities such as New Orleans by artists such as Fats Domino[12] and Louis Jordan.[13]
Music of Jamaica
Kumina – Niyabinghi – Mento – Ska – Rocksteady– Reggae – Sound systems – Lovers rock – Dub –Dancehall – Dub poetry – Toasting –Raggamuffin – Roots reggae – Reggae fusion
Anglophone Caribbean music
Anguilla – Antigua and Barbuda – Bahamas –Barbados – Bermuda – Caymans – Grenada –Jamaica – Montserrat – St. Kitts and Nevis – St. Vincent and the Grenadines – Trinidad and Tobago – Turks and Caicos – Virgin Islands
Other Caribbean music
Aruba and the Dutch Antilles – Cuba – Dominica– Dominican Republic – Haiti – Hawaii –Martinique and Guadeloupe – Puerto Rico – St. Lucia – United States – United Kingdom

Quarter note “skank” guitar rhythm[14]About this sound Play , namedonomatopoetically for its sound.

Eighth note skank rhythm[15] About this sound Play .

The stationing of American military forces during and after the war meant that Jamaicans could listen to military broadcasts of American music, and there was a constant influx of records from the US. To meet the demand for that music, entrepreneurs such asPrince BusterClement “Coxsone” Dodd, and Duke Reid formed sound systems. As jump blues and more traditional R&B began to ebb in popularity in the early 1960s, Jamaican artists began recording their own version of the genres.[16] The style was of bars made up of four triplets but was characterized by a guitar chop on the off beat – known as an upstroke or skank – with horns taking the lead and often following the off beat skank and piano emphasizing the bass line and, again, playing the skank.[1] Drums kept 4/4 time and the bass drum was accented on the 3rd beat of each 4-triplet phrase. The snare would play side stick and accent the third beat of each 4-triplet phrase.[1] The upstroke sound can also be found in other Caribbean forms of music, such as mento and calypso.[17]
One theory about the origin of ska is that Prince Buster created it during the inaugural recording session for his new record label Wild Bells.[17] The session was financed by Duke Reid, who was supposed to get half of the songs to release. However, he only received one, which was by trombonist Rico Rodriguez.[citation needed] Among the pieces recorded were “They Got to Go“, “Oh Carolina” and “Shake a Leg“.[citation needed] According to reggae historian Steve Barrow, during the sessions, Prince Buster told guitarist Jah Jerry to “change gear, man, change gear.”[citation needed] The guitar began emphasizing the second and fourth beats in the bar, giving rise to the new sound. The drums were taken from traditional Jamaican drumming and marching styles. To create the ska beat, Prince Buster essentially flipped the R&B shuffle beat, stressing the offbeats with the help of the guitar. Prince Buster has explicitly cited American rhythm & blues as the origin of ska, specifically Willis Jackson‘s song “Later for the Gator”, “Oh Carolina”, and “Hey Hey Mr. Berry”.[18]
The first ska recordings were created at facilities such as Studio One and WIRL Records in Kingston, Jamaica with producers such as Dodd, Reid, Prince Buster, and Edward Seaga.[17] The ska sound coincided with the celebratory feelings surrounding Jamaica’s independence from the UK in 1962; an event commemorated by songs such as Derrick Morgan‘s “Forward March” and The Skatalites‘ “Freedom Sound.” Because the newly-independent Jamaica didn’t ratify the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works until 1994 copyright was not an issue, which created a large number of cover songs and reinterpretations. Jamaican musicians such as The Skatalites often recorded instrumental ska versions of popular American and British music, such as Beatles songs, Motown and Atlantic soul hits, movie theme songs, or surf rockinstrumentals. Bob Marley‘s band The Wailers covered the Beatles’ “And I Love Her“, and radically reinterpretedBob Dylan‘s “Like a Rolling Stone“.
Byron Lee & the Dragonaires performed ska with Prince Buster, Eric “Monty” Morris, and Jimmy Cliff at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. As music changed in the United States, so did ska. In 1965 and 1966, when American soul music became slower and smoother, ska changed its sound accordingly and evolved into rocksteady.[17][19]However, rocksteady’s heyday was brief, peaking in 1967. By 1968, ska evolved again into reggae.