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Music: Steel Pulse

Our “Music to Drink Rum To” series returns with the perfect soundtrack for a sunny Friday afternoon, classic reggae from the one and only Steel Pulse. Enjoy.


Music To Drink Rum To – Steel Pulse

Music constantly fills the air at Rum Connection headquarters.  It’s a critical part of my day, used as inspiration, and as essential to my happiness as sunshine, beaches and happy hour.  All genres of good music are welcome here.  I joke that it must be “good music to drink rum to” but that’s about the only restriction.

My appreciation for reggae came at an early age and by sheer chance.  In 1988 I went to an INXS concert in suburban Chicago and the opening band just happened to be reggae legends Steel Pulse.  I was 14 years old and had never heard anything as cool or moving.  The next day at school as my friends were talking about INXS, I was talking about Steel Pulse.  The hook was firmly set.  I still hold them in high regard as reggae pioneers and have seen them live several times over the years.

Here’s more about Steel Pulse from our friends at All Music Guide.

Steel Pulse is one of Britain’s greatest reggae bands, rivaled only by Aswad in terms of creative and commercial success. Generally a protest-minded Rastafarian outfit, Steel Pulse started out playing authentic roots reggae with touches of jazz and Latin music, and earned a substantial audience among white U.K. punks as well. Their 1978 debut, Handsworth Revolution, is still regarded by many critics as a landmark and a high point of British reggae. As the ’80s wore on, slick synthesizers and elements of dance and urban R&B gradually crept into their sound, even as their subject matter stayed on the militant side. By the late ’80s, Steel Pulse had won a Grammy and were working full-fledged crossover territory, but never reached the same degree of commercial acceptance as Aswad or Inner Circle. They subsequently returned to a tough-minded, rootsy sound that nonetheless made concessions to contemporary trends with touches of rock-steady and dancehall.  

They’ve recorded more than a dozen albums since forming in 1978, but the ’80’s were the best years for Steel Pulse.  The electric keyboard nearly killed many good bands in rock and reggae during that era, but somehow ‘Pulse embraced the technology and made it work for them.  Their biggest hits are off of a 1984 album called Earth Crisis.  Here are some of the best songs from that record.  Enjoy your Friday everyone!!

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Get more Steel Pulse here:
Steel Pulse – the official website