In 1962 Jamaica gained her independence from the UK. From this independence a world-renowned sound emerged from this small island in the Caribbean. Reggae’s birth initially began in the ’50s and early ’60s with “Bluebeat”, “Ska”, and “Rock Steady”, all of which evolved from Jamaican “Mento” as well as a heavy dose of American Soul, Jazz, and R&B. By the late ’60s, studios like Studio One began recording artists with a slower rhythm and more bass. This new sound, known as “Reggae,” quickly came to dominate Jamaican radio and dance halls.
Deeply rooted in R&B, many Reggae artists have recorded dozens (if not hundreds) of covers of popular Billboard hits. Many of these artists and producers took the liberty to mash up their own signature sound with the original, giving it a new twist. Let’s start with some of the oldies but goodies.
Gwan… Shock out to these 12 “original” Reggae covers!
12. The Silvertones, “Midnight Hour”
Let’s start with the one of the true soul standards. “Midnight Hour” originally was recorded in 1965 by the soulful Wilson Picket. By 1968 the Silvertones with Tommy McCook made it their own as the cover trend began to catch fire. Love the Treasure Isle label.
11. Horace Andy, “Ain’t No Sunshine When She Gone”
Bill Withers record “Ain’t No Sunshine” on his album Just As I Am in 1971. This track was produced by legendary, Booker T. Jones. Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine” went on to win the 1972 Grammy for Best R&B song. Horace Andy got behind the mic to pay high grade homage to this forever R&B classic, produced by Bunny Lee.
10. The Heptones, “Suspicious Minds”
Even the King of Rock, Elvis Presley, was recognized by the Heptones 1971. “Suspicious Minds” was originally recorded by the writer of the song, Mark James in 1968. One year later, Elvis found himself back on the top of the charts with his version. Didn’t take long for The Heptones to record their version at Studio One.
9. Susan Cadogan, “Fever”
Who gives you “Fever? Your temperature will rise listening this cover featuring the seductive voice of Susan Cadogan. The original tune was first recorded by Little Willy John in 1958. Peggy Lee’s jazzy, steamy version from 1959 will make you melt as well. Many artist have covered this song. Beyoncé gave us all a slight “Fever” in 2007 cover version.