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About Steel Pulse


Steel Pulse are a roots reggae musical band from the Handsworth area of Birmingham, England, which has many Afro-Caribbean, Indian and other Asian migrants. They originally formed at Handsworth Wood Boys School, and were composed of David Hinds , Basil Gabbidon , and Ronald McQueen ; along with Basil's brother Colin briefly on drums and Michael Riley . Steel Pulse were the first non-Jamaican act to win the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album.


Basil Gabbidon and David Hinds became inspired to form Steel Pulse after listening to Bob Marley and The Wailers' Catch a Fire. After the band formed in 1975, their debut single release "Kibudu, Mansetta And Abuku" arrived on the small independent label Dip, and linked the plight of urban black youth with the image of a greater African homeland. They followed it with "Nyah Luv" for Anchor. They were initially refused live dates in Caribbean venues in Birmingham due to their Rastafarian beliefs. During the popularization of punk rock in the mid-1970's, Steel Pulse began to play punk venues such as Anchor in London and The Electric Circus in Manchester in 1976.


Aligning themselves closely with the Rock Against Racism organization and featuring in its first music festival in early 1978, they chose to tour with sympathetic elements of the punk movement, including the Stranglers, XTC etc. Eventually they found a more natural home in support slots for Burning Spear, which brought them to the attention of Island Records.


Their first release for Island was the "Ku Klux Klan" single, a tilt at the evils of racism, and one often accompanied by a visual parody of the sect on stage. By this time their ranks had swelled to include Selwyn Brown , Steve "Grizzly" Nisbett , Alphonso Martin and Mykaell Riley . Their debut album, Handsworth Revolution , was part the evolution of roots reggae outside Jamaica. However, despite critical and moderate commercial success over three albums, the relationship with Island Records had soured by the advent of their third album, Caught You .


The band made their US concert debut at the Mudd Club in New York in 1980.


Tom Terrell, who would later serve as their manager, was instrumental in masterminding a Steel Pulse concert on the night of Bob Marley's funeral, which was broadcast live around the world from the 9:30 Club, 930 F Street, N.W., Washington, D.C., on 21 May 1981.


This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Steel Pulse", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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