The history of England’s Punk-Reggae Hybrid

In December 1976, Bob Marley had survived an assassination attempt in Jamaica. This took him to seek refuge in London where he would reside and record for the next year and a half. While there, Marley witnessed the rise of punk and its attending subculture. Although initially alarmed, Marley came to understand that punk’s leading lights were addressing social concerns similar to those he was writing about for his upcoming “Exodus” album.

Also taken by punk’s socio-political awareness was producer Lee “Scratch” Perry, who, while less than impressed with the Clash’s version of a song he had co-written, “Police and Thieves” (1977), was sufficiently excited by the ethos of the band to work with them on the recording of their major label-bashing single, “Complete Control” (1977). It was Perry who explained to Marley how punk’s engagement of the still underground reggae style could help promote the music and spread its messages.

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