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Winston Riley

A renowned singer and formidably prolific producer, Winston Riley is one of Jamaica's greatest success stories, a pillar of the island's music industry to this day. Born in 1946 in Kingston, Jamaica, Riley founded the Techniques in 1964 with a group of friends, all of whom congregated at a youth club established by Edward Seaga. It was the future prime minister who took the young band into Federal Studios that year, where Byron Lee oversaw the group's recording debut, "No One." Soon after, the Techniques relocated to Treasure Isle, where their debut for Duke Reid, 1965's "Little Did You Know," rocketed them to the top of the Jamaican chart. A series of lineup shifts barely slowed the group down, as the Techniques' hits continued to pour forth across the ska, rocksteady, and reggae years.

In 1968, though, the band broke with Reid, and Riley began producing the Techniques' music. He also oversaw the Sensations and a solo Johnny Osbourne, who gave Riley's Techniques label its first major hit, "Warrior." But it was a riddim worked up by organist Ansel Collins and drummer Sly Dunbar that provided the producer with his international breakthrough, when their "Double Barrel," enlivened by Dave Barker's toasts, shot to the top of the U.K. chart and the U.S. Top 25. The follow-up, "Monkey Barrel," was nearly as successful, together bringing a licensing deal with Trojan Records and financing Riley's new record shop. The 1974 instrumental "Stalag 17," initially credited to a solo Ansel Collins, had an even greater impact. The phenomenally successful riddim has been versioned regularly ever since, with the Stalag 17, 18 & 19 set one of the most popular one-riddim albums of all time.

During the '70s, Riley released a stream of excellent singles and albums, working with many of the island's finest singers and DJs. Beyond Osbourne and Barker (as both DJ and singer), he also oversaw recordings by Jimmy Riley, Horace Andy, Pat Kelly, Alton Ellis, the Ethiopians, and the Viceroys, among others, as well as just about every name DJ on the scene. His melody-laced dubs are all of equal note. Fans thus found it unnerving that while Riley was overseeing such high-quality roots offerings, he was also grooming General Echo for stardom. "Well, someone was going to do it," the producer later quipped about his unleashing slack into the sound systems. Like "Stalag," that move would also have long-term implications. The other side of the coin, though, was Sister Nancy, the groundbreaking female DJ Riley helped launch to fame in the early '80s. Echo and Nancy were just two of many of the artists who Riley would either turn into stars or give a leg up; Lone Ranger, Frankie Paul, Tristan Palmer, Madoo, and Errol Scorcher were among some of the other notables he worked with during this period.

In 1985, Prince Jammy launched the digital age with "Under My Slang Teng," and Riley slapped back strongly with Tenor Saw's equally seminal "Ring the Alarm," yet another "Stalag" version. Of course, the singing producer was fighting a losing battle, but even when he bowed to the inevitable, so laced with melodies were his riddims that one could forget they were actually ragga. And the hits just kept rolling in -- Super Cat's "Boops," Red Dragon's "Hol a Fresh" and "Yu Body Good," Flourgon's "Hol a Spliff," Daddy Lizard's "A Fi Fly Out," Papa San and Lady G.'s "Legal Rights," as well as a clutch from Cutty Ranks and more from Courtney Melody. Meanwhile, Admiral Tibett and Frankie Paul kept the cultural flag flying, as did Ernest Wilson, Gregory Isaacs, and Yami Bolo, with Bushman providing an illustrious example of the producer's more recent roots work. Buju Banton's "Ring the Alarm Quick" chimed in the new millennium, with Riley still hard at work. He continues to stay on top of the scene, while simultaneously overseeing his vast back catalog. ~ Jo-Ann Greene, Rovi
full bio

Comments

Luv it. Dem no make hits like this for mi no more..
Cold a** song!!!!
Yes Jah Rastafari
samkeene8
sadiq your right it is
Neva get old
agriffiths22
Brings back memories of growing up in Jamaica
I need the lyrics to this from the movie belly to womens skechers commercials, a l l the way from 1946.now thats how you make a song lol awesome!
Kiss ur left hand say yo crushes name say a school day close yo hand say yo name open yo hand and look at it post this on at least 15 more songs and yo crush will ask u out on the date or day u said
One of the hottest and sexiest reggae songs ever created!
I LOVE IT !!!!!!!
My favorite...l u v this s**t...newyo r k all day..
Belly movie and dmx and nas���������
always going to be a party hit!!
first song i like to hear before i study!
Big tune big tune. A perfect song for the belly soundtrack. Respect
long dang dididly Sister Nancy make yo body go! haha positive tune :)
I love driving through LA with this track on! Delicious.
Fire.fire.fi r e
Tick,Tick
I like this song i can jam to this
we were lucky to grow up in this era .great song.
this song make memories come alive
siobhan10038 0
I loved this song growing up
Every time I hear this song, it just take me back to my childhood.
I love this song
Love this song!
Dis song reminds me wen my grandparents use to have gatherings at their house in Hawaii
OG. Bang.......R
tgehman175
back beat- I love it
puff puff pass
akilafelton
Great song :) Reminds me of "Belly" each time! Bop bop!
mrgadson3
Did he still this from Sister Nancy. You know the laws in Jamacia are not good.
True
Great smoke rite now!!
Bam Bam, something to ride to!
Bam Bam is performed by Sister Nancy, not Winston Riley.
This s**t is live!!! "Belly"
Bop bop bop bop bop...
karmecia.wil l i a m s
Love this song
i remember this on stage
lol
What a bam bam.. sister Nancy ..
TUFF to Back foot !!!! Whaaaa
like curry SELL offf
the maytals bam bam is NOT the same song. sista nancy.
leontaylor78
HOTT!
rizwan.ladha
Sister Nancy covered this song in the 1980s. First written and performed by the Maytals in the late 1960s. Respect.
love it
lots of memories
ysh_muhammad
Bam Bam is song by Siste Nancy. Maybe Winston Riley wrote the song but it is definitely not song by him. It is Sister Nancy.......
love
The movie Belly!!!!
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