One of the pioneers of the Ska movement Prince Buster has passed away at the age of 78. The self proclaimed ‘King of Ska’ died at his Miami home on Thursday morning (September 8) at 7:20am.
Prince Buster (real name Cecil Bustamente Campbell) was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1938. He released his first single ‘Little Honey/Luke Lane Shuffle’ in 1961 as part of ‘Buster’s Group’. The singer would go on to release 17 full albums between 1963 and 1976.
Buster is perhaps most well known for his hit singles ‘Al Capone’ and ‘Whine and Grine’ which peaked at number 18 and 21 respectively in the UK charts. ‘Al Capone’ would go on to spend an incredible 13 weeks in the singles chart.
Buster experienced a resurgence in popularity in the late 1970’s due to the Ska Revival movement that was led by Coventry’s 2-Tone label. Thanks to band’s such as The Specials, Madness and The Selecter, Busters music was introduced to a new generation of listeners. Madness’ first single ‘The Prince’ was actually a direct tribute to Buster, the b-side of that record titled ‘Madness’ was also a cover of one of Buster’s songs.
Madness would achieve further success due to their love of Prince Buster. In 1979 they gained a Top 10 single when they released a cover version of his song ‘One Step Beyond’. The song has gone on to become one of the most popular UK cult songs of all time, and is viewed by many as one of the pivotal songs of the Ska Revival movement, cementing Buster’s legacy in UK culture.
A number of DJ’s and musicians took to twitter yesterday to pay tribute to the great man.
Neville Staples of The Specials posted: “Rest in peace Prince Buster. & thanks fe the inspiration” and singer Mick Hucknall tweeted: “Al Capone – Prince Buster RIP. Ska Reggae Pioneer. Bless you and Jamaican music”.