June 30, 2013, at 2:50 pm

The 100 greatest Rocksteady tunes #1

It’s taken a long while but has been a great journey. Many thanks to all the people who have followed this list, to those who have made comments (positive or negative – it’s all good!) and to all those who have encouraged me, either on line or in the real world.

Rocksteady2) The Sensations – Long Time Me No See You Girl
3) Bobby Ellis – Step Softly
4) Slim Smith – Rougher Yet
5) Delroy Wilson – Dancing Mood
6) Phil Pratt – Safe Travel
7) Unknown – Got To Be At That Party
8) The Progressions – Fair Deal
9) Derrick Harriott – Walk The Streets
10) The Kingstonians – Put Down Your Fire
11) The Uniques – Beatitude
12) Keith And Tex – Tonight
13) The Paragons – My Best Girl
14) Ken Boothe – Say You
15) Slim Smith – Hip Hug
16) Val Bennet – Russians Are Coming
17) Soul Vendors – Swing Easy
18) The Melodians – Swing And Dine
19) The Minstrels – So Weary
20) The Wailers – Bus Dem Shut
21) Helmsley Morris – Little things
22) The Basses – Big Mistake
23) Derrick Harriott – Do I Worry
24) Gaylads – Hard To Confess
25) Hopeton Lewis – Sounds And Pressure
26) Joe Higgs & Dudely Sibley – Message Of Old
27) The Fugitives – Cantelope Rock
28) Crystalites – Alfred Hitchcock
29) Junior Soul – Glendevon Special
30) The Paragons – Number One
31) Alton Ellis – Rocksteady
32) The Wailers – Funeral
33) Desmond Dekker – Fu Manchu
34) Stranger And Gladdy – Over Again
35) The Techniques – Travelling Man
36) The Ethiopians – Do It Sweet
37) The Uniques – My Conversation
38) Ken Parker – A Change Is Gonna Come
39) The Melodians – It Comes And Goes
40) Keith And Tex – Stop That Train
41) The Clarendonians – Lonely Heartaches
42) Derrick Harriott – Solomon
43) Ken Boothe – Can’t You See
44) Johnny And The Attractions – Coming On The Scene
45) The Minstrels – People Get Ready
46) Joe White – I’m So Proud
47) Alton Ellis – Cry Tough
48) The Paragons – Memories By The Score
49) The Uniques – Watch This Sound
50) The Techniques – You Don’t Care
51) The Basses – River Jordan
52) Lloyd And Glenn – That Girl
53) Dobby Doson – Loving Pauper
54) The Uniques – Lesson Of Love
55) The Paragons – Tide Is High
56) Derrick Harriot – The Loser
57) Phylis Dillon – Perfidia
58) Lloyd Robinson – Red Bum Ball
59) Alva Lewis – Revelation
60) Soul Brothers – Soul Serenade
61) Delroy Wilson – won’t you come home
62) Johnny And The Attractons – Let’s Get Together
63) Pat Kelly – Somebody’s baby
64) The Rulers – Let My People Go
65) Hopeton Lewis- Cool Cool Collie
66) The Federals – You Better Call On Me
67) Larry Marshal – Find A New Girl
68) Alva Lewis – Suicide
69) Prince Buster – Rock And Shake
70) Winston Samuels – The Greatest
71) Johnny And The Attractions – Young Wings Can Fly
72) Prince Buster – Shaking Up Orange Street
73) Glen & Dave – Live Like A King
74) Hopeton Lewis – This Musics Got Soul
75) Dawn Penn – To Sir With Love
76) The Wrigglers – The Cooler
77) The Daltons – Never Kiss You Again
78) The Gaylads – Give A Helping Hand
79) George Dekker – Your Treating Me Bad
80) Prince Buster – Johnny Cool
81) Errol Dunkley – Love Brother
82) The Ethiopians – Headache
83) Soul vendors – Drum Song
84) Jamaicans – Dedicate My Song To You
85) Karl Bryan – Way Of Life
86) Slim and Roy – Facts Of Life
87) The Paragons – On The Beach
88) Errol Dunkley – You Gonna Need Me
89) Overtakers – Thats The Way You Like It
90) The Heptones – Why Must I
91) The Tartans – What Can I do
92) The Uniques – Girls Like Dirt
93) The Soul Tops – Baby I’ve Got News
94) West Indians – I Mean It
95) Lynn Tait – I Spy
96) Alton Ellis – I’ve Got A Date
97) Patsy – Love divine
98) Three Tops – It’s Raining
99) Sensations – I Was Born A Loser
100) The Clarendonians – I Am Sorry

The Techniques - Queen MajestyThe Techniques – Queen Majesty (Duke Reid Production)

And finally we reach number one. It could never really be anything but Treasure Isle, the label that defined the genre under producer Duke Reid.

It’s also fitting that the number one should be a cover of an Impressions tune, the group who, with Curtis Mayfield on lead, were one of the greatest influences on Jamaican music in the golden years of rocksteady. The Impressions version was named Minstrel and Queen and released in 1962, the Techniques cut from five years later is classic rocksteady in every sense of the word, many may argue over which is the greatest rocksteady tune but few would disagree that this tune is up there with the very best of them.

A Curtis Mayfield composition, a marvelous intro, a great sticky bass line and truly great harmonies – can it really get any better than this?

Queen Majesty should still be available on the CD; The Techniques – Run Come Celebrate released on Heartbeat records.

15 comments to The 100 greatest Rocksteady tunes #1

  • Very well done! A pleasure to follow the saga. Good to see all 100 lined up. What’s next, 100 Greatest Ska Tunes?

  • Kris Van B

    Well worth the wait. Thanks a lot Tim. Excellent work. Looking forward to your next project … please!!!

  • Christian Copenhagen

    Great choice for no. 1, the Curtis Mayfield reference is spot on, the whole list has been great, , been eagerly follwing it for years!

    A ska list would be awesome! Or a list of recommendations of high quality songs from post 68 that are related to the rocsteady aestetic…

  • Prince Andrew

    Well done Tim P and thanks for the ride. This tune totally escaped my mind for this list but a good selection for No.1 I honestly thought Rock Steady by Alton Ellis would get top spot. Some tunes I thought would make the list or would be in my list would have been Are you Ready by the Progressions, Rocking Time by Roy and Enid and Dudley Williamson’s Anything You Want. But it’s all good. ; )

  • Excellent list and such a great read. Thanks a lot!

  • MuzzerJazz

    Well done Tim. At least people will stop nagging you now about finishing the list. Mind you they won’t be talking to you seeing as you didn’t pick their tune. LOL. For the record: my favourite Rock Steady tune (which didn’t make it either) is “Passion Love” by The Melodians. Get’s me every time I hear it…

  • Alex

    What a worthy number one tune! Too bad it’s over now..

    Many thanks, Tim.

  • Bernard

    Well done Tim,

    A really worthy number one. How could we not have seen it coming!

    Can I suggest that you think of another few dozen “ones that got away”. There have been lots of great suggestions from contributors and I bet you have a good number you wish you could have included.

    Thanks for a great countdown. We have enyoyed your labour of love.



  • Carl

    Thanks a million for doing this. Ive been following it every step of the way and always eagerly awaiting the next choice. Im sad that its finished now.
    Would you consider doing the same thing for Ska, Rocksteady, Roots or Dub? please please pretty please!!

  • So Tim, you don’t rate “Ba Ba Boom,” “007 (Shantytown” and “Train To Skaville,”?

  • admin

    Brian – check the comments here – http://www.dancecrasher.co.uk/the-100-greatest-rocksteady-tunes/the-100-greatest-rocksteady-tunes-10-1/

    I also wrote this on Facebook when the same thing was discussed –

    “there are loads of big tunes missing Baba Boom is definitely one. It would have been easy just to fill the whole list with Treasure Isle big tunes but I didn’t want to. To me Baba Boom is kind of played out – I don’t get excited by it in the same way as I do most tunes on this list. Still it’s all about opinions – everyones list would be different. Cheers!”

  • Thanks Tim, I’d read most of those comments but not seen your facebook entry. I completely understand your answer, and frankly agree with you, “Ba Ba Boom” is sort of played out, just curious how you weeded it!

  • Been following the list since the beginning, sad to see it finish, great work. Luke

  • chucke

    Great list. Thought Carlton and The Shoes “Love Me Forever” was going to be #1. That’s not a crititism by the way, just a bet I had with a friend.
    “Live Long And Prosper”

  • marni

    Thanks Tim for a beautiful job, and since I will not argue with your choices, here’s a few I would have had in there: Roy Panton – Endless Memory, Orville Wood – You’ll Lose A Good Man, Conquerors – You Can’t Keep A Secret(tbc) and Hamlins – Sugar and Spice.
    I really hope to see you start a ska or early reggae top 100.

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