THE 1000 BEST SONGS IN THE WORLD EVER.
139-Prince Buster-One Step Beyond.
1964-It has never charted in the UK.
Best Bit-At 0.02. ‘Hey you, don’t watch that, watch this! This is the heavy heavy monster sound.’
Prince Buster (see also best songs 734) was born on May 24th, 1938, in Kingston, Jamaica, he died on September 8th, 2016, after suffering heart problems at the age of 78, he had been in poor health for some time after a series of strokes, including one in 2009 that left him unable to walk. Prince Buster will be best remembered as being the main figure in the development of the musical genre ‘Ska,’ which would later develop into ‘Rocksteady,’ and ‘Reggae.’ I can find no complete comprehensive discography for Prince Buster, but it will run into dozens of Albums and single releases, starting with his first single release ‘Little Honey’ in 1961. He recorded prolifically during the 1960’s, but by the early 1970’s with musical tastes changing his output slowed down, and in 1973 he retired from the music business. Only two of his singles have charted in the UK top 40,’Al Capone,’ which made Number 13 in 1967, and ‘Whine and Grine,’ which reached Number 21 in 1998, which had captured the public’s imagination after being used in nationwide television advertising campaign.
In the UK Prince Buster will be best remembered for being a major influence on the UK Ska revival of the late 1970’s, which was to become known as ‘The Second Coming of Ska,’ with bands such as ‘The Specials,’ (see also best songs 924 and 372) ‘Madness,’ (see also best songs 801 and 69) and ‘The (British) Beat’ all incorporating the music of Prince Buster in to their own. The music that these bands and others played fused traditional Jamaican Ska music with elements of ‘Punk Rock’ and ‘New Wave’ music. It’s roots were in the English city of Coventry which is in the midlands, and it’s appeal was largely limited to the UK. The British musician, and one of the co-founders of ‘The Specials’ Jerry Dammers set up the record label ‘2 Tone Records’ in 1979, and the label was the major player in the promotion of the ‘Ska’ revival.
It was the British band ‘Madness’ who brought ‘One Step Beyond’ to the attention of a whole new generation when recording the largely instrumental track as their second single, their first had been ‘The Prince’ which was a tribute to Prince Buster, written by band member Lee Thompson in 1979. ‘One Step Beyond’ which was also the title of the debut studio Album by Madness was produced by Clive Langer, and Alan Winstanley, and according to Winstanley the song in it’s original form only lasted 1 minute and 10 seconds, so they repeated the track, with the second half treated with an ‘Eventide Harmoniser’ to make it sound slightly different. The Madness version features a spoken intro by Chas Smith, who at the time of recording wasn’t an official member of the band, he joined as the seventh and final member in 1980. The spoken line, “Don’t watch that, watch this’ in the intro, is from another Prince Buster song called ‘Scorcher,’ and is also used at the start of the Dave and Ansell Collins’ ‘Funky Funky Reggae.’ Whilst the next line ‘This is the heavy heavy monster sound,’ is taken from another Dave and Ansell Collins song called ‘Monkey Spanner.”
‘So if you’ve come in off the street, and you’re beginning to feel the heat. Well listen buster, you better start to move your feet, to the rockinest, rock-steady beat.’