Prince Buster was a multifaceted fellow: not just the King of Ska, but also a producer, singer, soundsystem owner and boxer (Prince was his boxing nickname, and he converted to Islam after meeting Muhammad Ali). He was also a man who, as both producer and artist, led changes in Jamaican music. It was his introduction of the guitar chord on the afterbeat instead of the downbeat that gave birth to ska; he led the move to slowing down ska’s frantic pace into rocksteady; he was there when dub was born.
It’s hard to pick just five songs from his incredible output – it means leaving out not just some of the lesser known songs that form the backbone of his work, but also the hits that gained a second wind with the UK ska movement. So no Madness, the song that gave the London group their name (and which they covered), or One Step Beyond, or Enjoy Yourself, the song the Specials still leave the stage to. But these five tell a story about Buster and his home, Jamaica.