Reggae legend Junior Murvin dies aged 67yrs

Jamaican born reggae legend Junior Murvin has died aged 67yrs. There is speculation as to Murvin’s accurate age, reports vary between 64 and 67yrs of age.

Murvin, arguably best known for his 1976 hit ‘Police And Thieves’ later recorded by the Clash passed away on Monday in hospital in Port Antonio, Jamaica. ‘Police and Thieves’ was recorded in 1976; the lyric commented on the violent gang wars and the police’ violent response in Jamaica – however the track crossed the geographic boundaries and became closely linked with the Notting Hill Carnival, which ended in rioting that year.

The cause of death is yet to be confirmed, however Murvin had been receiving treatment for both diabetes and high blood pressure.

Murvin, born Murvin Junior Smith in Saint James Parish, Jamaica; he began singing in his junior school having been inspired by Curtis Mayfield. He subsequently moved to Trenchtown and unsuccessfully auditioned for Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and Coxsone Dodd.

Murvin continued to record through the 1980s, but his singles had less success. However, he sang with one of Jamaica’s top bands, Jah Postles, and toured widely in Europe. He recorded with various producers and musicians, including Joe Gibbs, Errol Thompson, Mikey Dread with whom he recorded the 1982 album Bad Man Posse, Henry “Junjo” Lawes, Prince Jammy, and King Tubby. His other local hits included ‘Miss Kushie’, ‘Cool out Son’, ‘I’m In Love’, ‘Bad Man Posse’, and ‘Muggers in the Street’.

He released his last album, Signs and Wonders, in 1989, but continued to record and release singles locally in Jamaica, some of them on his small Murvin label in Port Antonio.

His final released recording was a single ‘Wise Man’, released via the London-based Dubwise label in 1998.

Murvin is survived by five children and eight grandchildren.

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Phil Newall is 47, from The Wirral - he earns his living not writing about music nor playing music...though sorely wishes he could. He was fortunate enough to see many of the first generation punk bands when they played the U18's matinee shows at Eric's, Liverpool. As an attendee at Eric's he was exposed to punk rock, dub reggae, art rock, and all manner of weirdness; as a customer at Probe Records he was variously served and scowled at by Pete Wylie and Pete Burns - he has written for Record Collector, Whisperin & Hollerin, and Spiral Scratch and wanted to write a book detailing the Liverpool punk scene; however with 'Head-On' Julian Cope beat him to it...and frankly did a much better job.


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