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The Skatalites began performing in Jamaica in May 1964. The group was so

hot that their first rehearsal became a show. So many people had lined up

outside the venue, they decided to just charge admission and let everybody

in! They were the top musicians on the island at the time, having come

together after playing in different bands and on various recording sessions.

These records were made to be played at the many competing sound systems

around the island. The band became legendary, backing all the developing

artists of the day, such as Toots and The Maytals, Prince Buster and “The

Wailing Wailers” featuring Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer.

These groups were all recording on the new beat called ska, which had an

infectious rhythm that was catching on like wildfire. Eventually, the beat

slowed down into rocksteady, and then reggae. This wildfire spread

unstoppably around the world, developing into a huge musical tree with

many stylistic branches, including lovers rock, dub, dancehall/ ragga, ska-

punk,, and others. Hugely popular groups, like The Police, The Clash, The

Specials, The English Beat, Sublime and No Doubt, all have their roots

firmly planted in the music of The Skatalites.