Artist picture of The Melodians

The Melodians

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Artist's top tracks

I'll Take You Where The Music Playing The Melodians 03:31
Rivers of Babylon The Melodians 04:17
River of Babylon The Melodians 03:59
Rivers of Babylon The Melodians 03:25
Sweet Sensation The Melodians 03:52
Sweet Sensation The Melodians 03:52
You Have Caught Me The Melodians 03:14
I'll Get Along Without You The Melodians 03:02
Sweet Sensation The Melodians 03:55
Sweet Sensation The Melodians 03:55

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I'll Take You Where The Music Playing
Sweet Sensation
You Don't Need Me
Little Nut Tree

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During the golden age of Jamaican pop in the 1960s, rocksteady trio The Melodians lit up the island's music scene with their sweet harmonies and cool, big-hearted ballads, but are best remembered for penning the righteous reggae classic 'Rivers of Babylon'.

Formed by Tony Brevett in the Greenwich Town area of Kingston, the group started out performing at talent shows in 1963 and initially made their first recordings under the guidance of Prince Buster. Trevor McNaughton and Brent Dowe later completed a settled line-up with Brevett, and after backing Ken Boothe they created singles 'Lay It On' and 'Meet Me' with legendary producer Coxsone Dodd at Studio One in 1966. The lively, jumping rhythms of ska had been the dominant sound of the island, but as American R&B and doo-wop hits became more popular, The Melodians were one of the first groups to adopt the slowed-down romantic swing of rocksteady and were soon poached to Duke Reid's Treasure Isle label. There they produced a string of popular singles including 'You Have Caught Me', 'You Don't Need Me' and 'Come On Little Girl', sitting alongside The Wailers and The Silvertones as great smooth Caribbean pop starlets of the day.

By the late 1960s Rastafarian ideas and the new sound of reggae was starting to change things and the band began to evolve by working with Sonia Pottinger, before creating their masterpiece 'Rivers of Babylon' with famed producer Leslie Kong. The song was initially banned by the government because of its Rastafarian references, but they successfully argued that the bulk of the lyrics were taken from Bible Psalms, and upon its release 'Rivers of Babylon' went to number one in the Jamaican charts. It reached an international audience when it was included on the soundtrack to Jimmy Cliff movie 'The Harder They Come' in 1972, but it was Boney M's huge, disco version of the song that topped the UK charts in 1978 and became one of the top ten biggest selling singles of all time.

The Melodians also worked with Lee 'Scratch' Perry and Byron Lee and released the album 'Sweet Sensation' for Trojan Records, but Brevett left to pursue a solo career in the mid-1970s and the group petered out. The trio reformed in the 1980s for the album 'Irie Feeling' and had 'Soul Sensation' covered by British band UB40 as they continued to tour as a nostalgia act supported by a worldwide fan base of roots reggae enthusiasts. Dowe suffered a fatal heart attack in 2006 and Brevett died from cancer in 2013, but McNaughton continued to lead the group with Taurus Alphonso and Winston Dias, releasing new album 'Return of the Melodians' in 2017.