Reggae singer Junior Murvin dies aged 64

'Police and Thieves' became an anthem in British inner cities of the late Seventies

Ian Burrell
Monday 02 December 2013 20:05
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Junior Murvin, the Jamaican singer whose hit "Police and Thieves" became one of the most distinctive songs in reggae music and an anthem in the British inner cities of the late Seventies, has died.

"Police and Thieves" was recorded in 1976 to reflect turf war and police violence in Jamaica but became closely associated with London's Notting Hill Carnival, which ended in rioting that year. The song introduced many punk rockers to reggae and was covered by The Clash for their debut album in 1977.

"Police and Thieves" was the title track of a popular Junior Murvin album released by Chris Blackwell's Island Records, also in 1977. The song was eventually a British chart hit for the Jamaican singer in 1980 and has been a staple of sound systems at Notting Hill Carnival for nearly four decades.

The falsetto singer, who was born Murvin Smith Junior, began his career under the name of Junior Soul and recorded over a period of more than 30 years. But he never managed to emulate the success of his greatest hit, which was produced by the eccentric Lee "Scratch" Perry. He died peacefully at his home in Port Antonio, Jamaica, on Monday. He was 64.

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