Many years ago, Jonny Atkins made a passing comment to me that Chris Lamont loved Mid-90s commercial reggae. Had several compilations of the stuff. Chakademus & Pliers, CJ Lewis, Pato Banton – he loved ’em all. As we reeled off hit after hit, we got to thinking that it really did seem to dominate the UK charts for several years. Jamie Gould christened the apex in 1994 as the ‘Summer of Dread’.
I think this was in around 2004.
Last week at our kid Jamie‘s reggae-inspired 30th birthday party (‘Welcome to Jamrock’), we requested that all the bands that played had to cover at least one reggae song. Tony Carson and The Focussed Distraction did this with aplomb, but The JB Conspiracy nailed it. As well as 54-46 What’s my number, they romped through three stone cold Neggae classics. Their renditions of Sweat (A La La La La Long), No, No No and All that She Wants were breathtaking. They made me realise this era needed to be documented properly; I’m surprised BBC4 haven’t commissioned Neggae Britannia to be honest.
Just like 20 years earlier, Bob Marley was instrumental in bringing this new type of reggae to the UK masses. It was the posthumous release of Iron Lion Zion that kickstarted the genre, and the release of ‘Legend II‘ in 1995 similarly kept Reggae (and its nephew Neggae) in the news and in the charts.
So Neggae snowballed in 1992 with a new generation of young British Music fans becoming exposed to one of Reggae’s greats, and for the next few years the British record buying public lapped it up. It seemed to have run its course by 1996, and while there are several conflicting theories as to why, there’s no definite answer. Some say Britpop killed it, with young music fans slowly spending more of their hard-earned Saturday job money on the messrs Gallagher and Albarn rather than Banton and Mclean. Others say it finally jumped the shark with Peter Andre’s Mysterious girl. We’ll never know for sure.
The rules are simple; any reggae/reggae-based/reggae-lite song that graced the UK charts (top 75) between 92 and 96 is in and will be reviewed and rated on this blog by us, the wise elders of Neggae. By the end of this folly we will truly know who are the kings and queens of Neggae.
Here they all are, hope you enjoy.