Personalities | Sly & Robbie | Eighties | Rock

(Production team/rhythm section, 1975–present)

Sly Dunbar (drums) and Robbie Shakespeare (bass) both worked for various reggae artists, including Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, before coming together at Kingston’s Channel One Studio in the mid-1970s, where their innovative, but funky combination powered the new ‘rockers’ sound. They backed practically every Jamaican artist of note, from Peter Tosh to Gregory Isaacs, forming their own label Taxi. They toured with Black Uhuru and played sessions and/or produced for Grace Jones (on her 1981 Nightclubbing album), Bob Dylan, Ian Dury and Serge Gainsbourg! Dunbar in particular was interested in new technologies, adopting ‘syndrums’ early. In 1987 the pair had a UK Top 20 with ‘Boops (Here To Go)’, sampled by Robbie Williams in 2006, and in 1997 teamed up with Mick Hucknall for a hit version of ‘Night Nurse’. They also played a large part in the Dancehall and ragga movements of the late 1980s and 1990s, working with the likes of Chaka Demus and Pliers, and Shabba Ranks.

Styles & Forms | Eighties | Rock
Personalities | The Smiths | Eighties | Rock

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock, general editor Michael Heatley


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