Jamaican music titan Sly Dunbar turns 70

Sly & Robbie, Brooklyn 2012. Carter Van Pelt
Sly & Robbie, Brooklyn 2012.
Carter Van Pelt

The global reggae community wished a happy birthday to Jamaican music titan, Lowell “Sly” Dunbar, O.D., as he turned 70 on May 10.

“While his recording credits would take a dissertation project to document in full, I’ve been able to piece together and offer to you some of the biggest tracks in the VP and Greensleeves catalog that benefitted from his playing, drum programming and songwriting,” Carter Van Pelt, director of catalog development at the Jamaica, Queens-based VP Music Group.

“Hopefully, this playlist will inspire you to create a radio or mix tribute, podcast or social media post,” he added. “With the passing of Robbie Shakespeare, it’s more important than ever to shine a light on the one and only Sly Dunbar.

“Reggae and dancehall would not be the same without him,” continued Van Pelt, stating that more flowers also go to “the great Johnny Osbourne.”

This month marks the 40th anniversary of the release of his “Never Stop Fighting” LP, the 1982 Greensleeves Records classic that included the inspired title track, plus “In Your Eyes” and “Give A Little Love,” among seven others.

Van Pelt said the album was the fifth full length release after Osbourne’s return from 10 years in Canada from 1969 to 1979.

From 1979 to 1982, Osbourne saw the release of the Studio One masterpiece “Truth & Rights,” Prince Jammy’s production “Folly Ranking,” Linval Thompson’s “Nightfall” and Junjo Lawes’ “Fally Lover.”

“This run of albums cemented Osbourne’s place in the reggae and early dancehall scene of 1980s Jamaica, which reached new heights again through King Jammy’s ‘Water Pumping album’ and Osbourne’s contribution to the Sleng Teng riddim, ‘Mr. Budy Bye,’” Van Pelt said.

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