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» BREAKING NEWS, Featured » DESMOND DEKKER’S “007 (SHANTY TOWN)” MARKS 50 YEARS!

DESMOND DEKKER’S “007 (SHANTY TOWN)” MARKS 50 YEARS!

BY KEVIN JACKSON—

 Desmond Dekker —

In the summer of 1967 Desmond Dekker and the Aces’ reached number 14 on the UK pop chart with the hit 007 (Shanty Town). Produced by Leslie Kong, it became the first rocksteady song to crack the influential UK chart.

Released on the Pyramid label (the B-side featured Roland Alphanso’s El Torro), 007 (Shanty Town) was a number one hit in Jamaica. It is alleged that Dekker wrote the song after watching news coverage of a student demonstration against government plans to build an industrial complex on land close to a beach, which descended into violence.

Producer Leslie Kong

Producer Leslie Kong

The song also deals with a ‘rude boy’ who after being released from prison continues to commit crime.

It was Dekker’s first international hit. Its success demonstrated the viability of Jamaican music in England.

Dekker re-recorded the song for his 1980 album Black and Dekker.

There have been a few cover versions released. The Body snatchers released a version for the 1981 soundtrack to the documentary Dance Craze. Musical Youth also cut a version on their 1983 album Different Style, which reached number 26 on the UK pop chart. In 1996 British group The Specials recorded a version for their album Today’s Specials.

Desmond Dekker

Desmond Dekker

The song has also been sampled by American rapper Special Ed, Shaggy, UK ska-punk band Sonic Boom and Anthony B.

 The ‘007’ rhythm was revived in 2007 for a series of releases on Beverley’s Records, forming the basis of singles from Joseph Cotton ( Ship Sail), Mike Brooks (Blam Blam Blam), The Blackstones (Out a Road), and Dennis Alcapone (DJ Roll Call). Dekker died in 2006 at age 64.

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