June 15 2013



Johnny Rotten

Johnny Rotten X U Roy

The Police X Steel Pulse

1977 saw two symbolic milestones in the punk / reggae collaboration, as Bob Marley released the song “Punky Reggae Party,” and The Clash released their eponymous debut album, featuring the Junior Murvin song “Police and Thieves.”

By 1978, Johnny Rotten was in Jamaica scouting artists for a fledgling Virgin Records, and the reggae tune “Uptown Top Ranking” had risen to number one on U.K. charts. The reggae / punk collaboration had become the mainstream.

Linton Kwesi Johnson X John Cooper Carke

Tappa Zukie X Patti Smith X Don Letts

Don Letts X Ari Up

The Clash X Mikey Dread

Basement 5

The essential common ground between punks and rastas gave birth to a rich culture of rebellion and innovation. Indeed, the DIY principles which empowered the punks to break free from economic and ideological ties to conformity bear a striking resemblance to the self reliant doctrine of Marcus Garvey.

Misty In Roots

Basement 5

New Age Steppers

Creation Rebel X New Age Steppers

Anti Social Workers

Big Audio Dynamite

Jello Biafra X H.R. X Olga De Volga

Henry Rollins X H.R.

Although the explicit artistic collaboration between punk and reggae fizzled out in the ‘80’s, the marriage of the two lifestyles was to remain permanent. Bands like Culture Club and The Police took the sound commercial without the focus on politics and lifestyle, but other bands like PIL, New Age Steppers, Big Audio Dynamite, The Bad Brains, Operation Ivy, The Mescaleros and the Two Tone movement carried the torch for the nascent political and cultural movement spawned from the exchange between reggae and punk.

Big Up McLean Gordon!