• Ricky Dawes

Jamaican Hits You Never Knew were Cover Part 2






Continuing our examination of Jamaican hit songs performed by Jamaicans who are covers of original records. As we have outlined in part one, not only did Jamaican creatives cover a lot of popular music from the United States and the United Kingdom, but they also covered original recordings by other Jamaican recording artists. Here are some other tunes that may surprise you.



Fever Medley - Freddie McGregor

Back in 1990, Freddie saw a return to his hitmaking ways after leaving the 1980s with songs like "Push Come To Shove" and "Big Ship." One of his first big hits of the new decade was the "Fever Medley," done on the Punaany riddim. The original for this song, though, resulted from a collaboration between two singers, Ronnie Davis and Gregory Isaacs, with the former providing vocals. It was released in 1979 on the album Gregory Isaacs Meets Ronnie Davis.


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Prophecy - Freddie McGregor

As if that weren't enough, Freddie would have another hit that same year with another cover version, Little Roy's "Prophecy." Little Roy recorded the song back in 1972 for Maurice Jackson. It became a minor hit for Roy, who had his first big hit in 1969 with Bongo Nyah and would be considered one of the first Roots Reggae singers. As far as Prophecy goes, however, Reggae lovers worldwide will associate it with Freddie McGregor, which still forms a staple of his performances.

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To Be Poor Is A Crime - Freddie McGregor

To complete the circle of covers during that time, Freddie McGregor released another one in 1991, titled To Be Poor Is A Crime. This was taken from the Reggae group, Still Cool. Written and recorded by Joseph “Blue” Grant in 1978, it would become their biggest hit before being covered by the “Bobby Babylon” singer more than a decade later. The success of these songs would lead Freddie to release a slew of remakes over the following years, such as "Let Him Try" by Alton Ellis, and "I Was Born A Winner," a cover of Derrick Harriott's "Loser."


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Equal Rights - Dennis Brown

1978 was a good year for Dennis; with a continually evolving sound and working with one of the hottest producers of the time, Joe Gibbs; it seemed he could do no wrong. One of his many hits that year was "Equal Rights," which was initially done by the Heptones back in 1968. It covered the Heptones’ classic down to the horn licks (not that we mind), but we still appreciate both songs, which convey a message that remains relevant to this day.


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