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Sounds on Sunday: 50 of 50/10

WHAT WERE WE listening to 50 years ago? Here’s a short series on the hits of 1969 – two years after the Summer of Love, the year that humans landed on our moon, the last year of the 1960s.

Let’s go classic this week and remember Desmond Dekker & The Aces, who topped the UK Singles Chart for one week in April 1969 with Israelites. This was a groundbreaking moment: the first reggae track to top the UK charts, Israelites went on to break into the US top 10 too.

The song drops a hint of so many Reggae identifiers: musically it showcases the off-beat; the religious side of Rastafarianism is referenced as the word “Israelites” celebrates the link between Rastas and the Twelve Tribes of Israel; and the poverty of the black man living under colonial rule – and the comparison of his status with that of the black woman – is key.

So much musical evolution has come since, it is hard to remember how original this song must have sounded back in 1969. If it grabs you, head across to YouTube and check out Trojan Records – and hear why Reggae became such a sound of the 70s.

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Sounds on Sunday

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