After a quarter-century of smash hit songs, sold-out tours and inspirational messages, one may wonder, "Where did it all begin? What gives Third World the staying power so rare in the music industry?"
Third World is more than just one of the top reggae bands of all time, it is an institution. An institution that stands for producing and performing music that, while holding firm to the cultural and ancestral roots of its' members, still pushes forward the cutting edge of music worldwide. It is an institution whose themes are positive, progressive and internationally relevant.
Born out of a drive to write and perform original material incorporating reggae, rock and funk, and a desire to tour and take music to a wider audience, Third World was conceived.
The year was 1973. A teenaged Guitarist, Cellist and Singer named Stephen 'Cat' Coore - then with the Inner Circle Band - left the safety of the 'Circle' to pursue this dream. 'Cat' and a fellow musician from another band, Colin Leslie, conceived and launched the band Third World.
Soon they were joined by Michael 'Ibo' Cooper on keyboards and vocals, and recruited bassist, Richie Daley, drummer Carl Barovier, Irvin 'Carrot' Jarrett on percussion and on lead vocals, Milton 'Prilly' Hamilton. Their Kingston premiere in 1974 playing reggae and funk, earned them great reviews and gigs, as they were the only group of that era composed of young, talented, trained instrumentalists who could sing and would take chances on musical grounds others feared to tread.
A few months later, they were opening for the Jackson Five at the Jamaican National Stadium, where they stunned the 30,000 plus audience with their versatility and professionalism. Before long, they were playing in England where Island Records' Chris Blackwell saw them perform. Blackwell immediately offered them a record deal and a slot on a European tour, opening for one of his artistes, Bob Marley and The Wailers.
'THIRD WORLD', their debut album in 1976, featured the hypnotic "Satta Amasa Gana". It was closely followed in 1977 by the legendary album, "96 DEGREES IN THE SHADE"- released to rave reviews in Europe and the U. K. including open salutes to Ras Tafari like "Jah Glory", Bunny Wailer's "Dreamland", and of course, the classic title track, "1865 (96 Degrees In The Shade)".
This album also heralded the arrival of new drummer, Willie Stewart and of soulful new lead singer, William 'Bunny Rugs' Clark (another ex-Inner Circle member). This combination of 'Rugs', 'Richie', 'Cat', 'Carrot', 'Willie' and 'Ibo' proved to be the formula for success as their next album, 'JOURNEY TO ADDIS' (1978), spawned the worldwide Top Ten hit "Now That We Found Love" (a disco-reggae remake of an O'Jays tune).
In 1979 this commercial pattern was furthered by the album 'THE STORY'S BEEN TOLD', with tracks like "Talk To Me", "Irie Ites" and the sweet, swaying "Always Around". At the dawn of a new decade, Third World released not one but two new projects: their final album with Island, 'ARISE IN HARMONY' and also music on the Island soundtrack for the film, 'PRISONER IN THE STREET'.
But with this dawning swiftly came the shattering closure to the most important chapter in the history of reggae music - the passing of Bob Marley. This closure was marked by two events in particular. The release of Stevie Wonder's tribute to Marley, "Master Blaster (Jammin')"; and the salute to Bob by Third World at Reggae Sunsplash that summer, during which Wonder joined Third World onstage to perform "Master Blaster".
The magic that filled the air that early summer morning was harnessed by Wonder who quickly wrote, produced and arranged Third World's next international blockbuster, released in 1982, "Try Jah Love". This song became the group's anthem, solidifying them in the archives of musical history as the promoters of love and spirituality.
Then there was "Lagos Jump" (1983) - which featured legendary U.S. players like Gerald Albright and the Earth, Wind and Fire horn section - "Sense of Purpose" in 1985 and "Reggae Radio Station" (1987). These singles kept Third World's seat in the charts warm, until their next smash pounced on the world in 1989, "Forbidden Love". Co-written by Rupert 'Gypsy' Bent III (who joined the band for that year of touring) this song illustrated the group's focus on the outer boundaries of music, incorporating rap by Daddy-O from Stetsasonic.
Punctuating 20 years as a group, Third World expressed its dedication with the album 'COMMITTED' (1993). The songs reaffirmed their roots like the ska-sound of "Give The People What They Need", and stretched their limits to incorporate computerized dancehall, dj grooves and also reggae-fied hip-hop in tunes such as "Riddim Haffe Rule", "Committed" and "Mi Legal".
This openness to new paths in music inevitably led to a crossroads in the evolution of the band in 1997 - the departure of founding member Michael 'Ibo' Cooper, and of drummer Willie Stewart, who decided to take their musical development down different avenues. This void, however, was readily filled by Herbie Harris, who assumed the role of keyboardist and drummer, Tony 'Ruption' Williams.
Says 'Cat' of the new Worl'ers: "To tell you the truth, the new members have adapted very well. When people come to see this new band they may be a bit taken aback. The sound, the way the band is playing now, is the best it's ever been."
No argument there. After only six months, the new aggregation already had tour dates the length of your arm and had begun working on a new album that was highly sought after by several record companies. Remaining one of the Founding Fathers of Reggae, Third World is clearly set to propel itself into the 21st century, affirming that good music and great talent is limitless, bridging the dimensions of culture, of category and of everlasting time.
Formed in 1973, Third World is committed to the excellence of reggae music by combining Jamaican reggae and folk music with all strains of African Rhythms, American Pop, Rhythm & Blues, and Classical music. Third World is one of the longest running and most diverse bands Jamaica has ever produced.
The original members are William "Bunny Rugs" Clark - lead vocals and guitar, Stephen "Cat" Coore- lead guitar and cello, Richard 'Bassheart' Daley- bass. However due to Michael "Ibo" Cooper and William Stewart leaving the group, Third World has recruited some of Jamaica's most talented musicians: Herbert "Herbie" Harris -keyboards, and Tony 'Ruption' Williams -drums.
The group at different times were contracted to Island Records, Columbia Records, Mercury Records, Third World Productions and now on their new Label Rurica Records.
Third World opened for Bob Marley & The Wailers on their 1975 European Tour, and performed on some of his recordings. They have remained a force in international music ever since. Recipients of the 1986 "United Nations Peace Medal," 1992 and 1996 Jamaica Music Industry awards for Best Show Band, and several nominations for the Grammy Awards.
Albums include: Third World, 96 Degrees in the Shade, Journey to Addis, Prisoner in the Street, The Story's been Told, Arise in Harmony, Rock the World, Sense of Purpose, You've Got the Power, Hold on to Love, Serious Business, Committed, Live it Up, Generation Coming and their new album, Ain't Givin' Up
The latest album "Ain't Givin' Up" fuses the energy and of its newest members with the wisdom and musicianship of its original members. The album has 14 tracks and features guest appearances from Julian Lennon on "Hold Tight", Glen Washington on "Rebel Rock Session," and Lady Saw with "My Fire". The title track, "Ain't Givin' Up" confirms that Third World regardless of crisis, war, what ever what; they are not giving up, no way.
International hit singles include the cover version of Gamble &Huff's, "Now That We've Found Love," "96 Degrees in the Shade," "Cool Meditation," "Dancing on the Floor," "Try Jah Love," written by Stevie Wonder "Sense of Purpose," "Forbidden Love," "Reggae Ambassador," "Committed," and "Reggae Party." As Third World says, "If it's music, sweet music, let it play."
Stephen Cat Coore
Conceptualizing and founding the Third World Band in 1973, Stephen ‘Cat’ Coore’s inimitable style (in both music and fashion) has been the unmistakable trademark of the band since day one.
Stephen inherited the gift of music from his mother, Rita Coore, a music teacher in Jamaica, where he was born. At 8yrs old, he began 4 years of formal training at the Foster Davis School of Music, subsequently continuing his tutorship at the Jamaica School of Music for another 2 years.
At age 12, this virtuoso joined up with the Inner Circle Band, while still attending high school. For the next 6 years, he played with the ‘Circle’ and met a host of great musicians like Pablo Cassals, Myra Hess and Alexander Schneider, from whom he drew his inspiration.
In 1973, no longer able to perform with Inner Circle full time, due to exams toward the end of high school, Cat envisioned his own band. A band that would stray from the song lists of safety adhered to by most Jamaican groups. This was the birth of Third World. Two years later, Cat was already producing music for other bands, besides his work with Third World.
During Third World’s first 24 years, Cat also recorded with Cindy Lauper, Maxi Priest, Bunny Wailer, Michael Rose, Sly & Robbie, Shabba Ranks and several others, too numerous to mention. In particular, 1981 brought Cat the opportunity of going into the studio with Stevie Wonder, to record some of Third World’s best loved recordings.
Finally, Cat embarked on his first solo project, Uptown Rebel in ’96, with the talents of all his long-time friends. But as musical director for the band, he has a strong love and sense of responsibility to continue the mission of Third World with integrity and excellence.
William Rugs Clark
Possibly the most distinctive voice in international reggae music, William ‘Bunny Rugs’ Clark is largely responsible for creating the irrefutable Third World sound.
Known and loved the world over simply as ‘Rugs’, his wit and disarming sense of humour secure him as a true lyricist both on and off the stage. But don’t be fooled by his jiving. ‘Rugs’ has a deep sense of spirituality that forms the premise of all his interactions - his genuineness is not an affectation.
Originally from Manchester, Jamaica, Rugs worked with a few small Kingston bands before migrating to New York late in 1968. Within four months of arriving, he had a Brooklyn gig that lasted a year until he hooked up with the famous Inner Circle Band from 1970-1972, as their lead singer.
At this time, Cat Coore was also a member of the Inner Circle, and the two developed a mutual respect and a working relationship that was to stand them in good stead in the years to come.
Quickly establishing himself as a strong, soulful singer, Rugs released some singles, including: “Sweet Caroline” in 1972 and also in the early ‘70’s, a cover of a Bobby Womack song, “Harry Hippie”. Then in 1976, Third World went on their first U.S. Tour and they played at a club in the Village called The Bottom Line. Rugs went to hear them play that night and never left the group from that moment forth.
Since joining Third World, Rugs has done two solo albums, the first in 1995 on Shanachie Records: Talking To You; and the second: Bunny Rugs On Soul in 2000. It is always reassuring to see and hear this honest, sincere communicator at the helm of the live shows, propagating the timeless messages of love, unity and justice for all.
Richard Bassie Daley
If you were to take a ‘wikid’ bass line from a song, and personify it, what would it look like? The answer is Richie Daley. With a voice that’s as deep as his warm and inviting eyes, his steady, easy manner creates a cool groove for even strangers to slip into. His sincerity goes even deeper than the lowest note on his guitar.
Self-taught on an acoustic guitar, Richie got further classical training from the Jamaica School of Music. He also got some musical guidance and help learning the piano from renowned Bassist, Courtney Robb. As a youngster, he then played in the school band and did some early recording with Ken Booth. He then worked with a succession of individuals who also became accomplished musicians: first it was the Astronauts Band with Earl ‘Wya’ Lindo and Mikey Boo Richards of The Wailers. Then in 1970, it was with a band called Hell’s Angels, comprised of Wayne Armond, Allah, Courtney Robb and Clive Hunt.
Two years later - with Tomorrow’s Children, a vibrant dance band - he was backing Toots and The Maytals on a N. American Tour. Then, with the rise of reggae music internationally, Tomorrow’s Children disbanded to allow some of it’s members to be a part of that musical and cultural evolution. He felt the gravitational pull towards the new breed of music being explored with Third World, and Richie made the decision to join the group, becoming a founding member.
This move was the perfect vehicle for him to express himself, giving people who hear and see him, a chance to feel his warmth and positive vibes like they feel his bass lines – deep in their bones.
Herbert Herbie Harris
For Herbert “Herbie” Harris, music is his passion and his life. With over twenty years of being in the music business, he has toured with the cream of the crop in the Reggae circles, as well as played on some of the most significant recordings in this genre. Harris is known professionally for not only being a natural leader but admired and revered for his particular gift; a perfect ear. He only needs to hear a song once before he can play it back note for note.
After a ten year stint as Maxi Priest’s keyboard player and eventually the bands musical Director, Herbie decided it was time to use his expertise to fulfill his own dream-to put Reggae back to the level it belongs.
Frustrated with the dismal complaints in the industry, of where Reggae is today, he felt it was up to him and visionaries like himself to pool their collective creative and financial resources together to move the music forward. He sees it imperative to set a precedence of quality rather than quantity, adherence to time constraints and a definite push away from violence and explicit sexual content that typifies some current reggae productions. Much sought after now that he was finally ‘off the road’ to lend his prowess and his world-renown ear to productions all over Kingston, Herbie felt compelled to set down a base.
His exposure over time to the best the world has to offer musically has resulted in him forming his own production company, “LIVE-WIRE PRODUCTIONS” recording and distribution company called “GLOBAL RECORDS” with singer Andy Livingston and Garfield “Tata” Muschette.
Herbie grew up in the Woodford Park area of Central Kingston. While growing up on Anderson Road, he was inspired by the sounds of Motown and Philadelphia in the form of Earth, Wind and Fire, the Jackson 5, OJ’s and the Spinners. His local favourites were Dennis Brown, Melodians, John Holt and the Paragons, Third World and Zapow.
He started playing music while still in high school at St George’s College, and after graduating, he immediately set out on a course to accomplish what he does best—playing and creating music. He got his first break with a band in Old Harbour Bay in the mid 70’s while getting occasional tours overseas. He then spent six (6) years playing with Reggae band Kotch, which turned out hits like “Jean” and “Cruisin” in the 80’s. He also begun touring internationally with Pablo Moses, then went on to tour with Yellowman, Black Uhuru, Dennis Brown, U-Roy, Marcia Griffiths, Judy Mowatt, Shinehead, the A-Team Band, Beres Hammond, Carlene Davis, Eric Donaldson and the list goes on. As a part of Sly and Robbie’s Taxi Gang when they performed in Germany as opening act for Westenhagen in 1990, Herbie showed his versatility at the microphone by crooning some of the hits of the day and wresting encores from a very appreciative over 100,000-strong audience.
He has been called upon through the years to loan his expertise to various musical projects. He was flown to New York to work on the Remix of Raven Simone’s “That’s what little girls are made of”. He also worked on the movie soundtrack based on the Jamaican Bobsled team entitled “Cool Runnings.” He has produced albums and singles for Jamaican label stalwart, SONIC SOUNDS with Dobby Dobson, Dennis Malcolm, Bunny and Skully. With the legendary Sly and Robbie team. Herbie has performed on numerous Reggae hits, including “Flex”, by DJ Cobra, “Raw As Ever” by Shabba Ranks, “Murder She Wrote”, by Chakademus and Pliers, “Step Aside” and “Putting Up Resistance” by BeresHammond to name a few.
With a bevy of artists flocking to the CABIN, as Herbie’s Studio is aptly named, all seeking the rich, international sounds that he lends to every project. While he knows that this means, his days will only get longer, he is happy to finally be on a path that will lead him to sure victory. Having a solid base of his own, as well as being a part of a very exciting record label, he is assured now that he can take Reggae back to the heights it belongs.
Having no more restraints and restrictions, Herbie is set on the straight and narrow path to blowing this music out of the water and commanding a place for himself in the history of Jamaican music. His concerns with the state of the industry today, the welfare of reggae legends and the widespread piracy of the music, drive him with a burning passion to be the one to make the change. As he so aptly puts it, “Stop di chattin an mek a move.”
In July of 1999, Herbie joined the internationally famous THIRD WORLD BAND. His Recording Studio has since been upgraded with PRO TOOLS digital recording technology, And between the studio and on the road with Third World…………TINGS A GWAAN.
Tony Ruption Williams
This new Third World member is quiet and easy-going, exuding an almost meditative calm. That is until you put him behind a drum set, then like a valcano, he erupts and explodes with rhythms and riffs delivered with intensity like nothing you’ve ever seen or heard before. Hence the nickname, ‘Ruption’.
Hailing from St. Catherine, Jamaica, Tony studied music at the Montego Bay Boy’s Club and played in various bands while still in school from 1976-1977. Then for three years, he worked with a dance band out of Ocho Rios called Infinite Sensuality until in 1982 he got an opportunity to spend a year in Los Angeles playing drums on Stevie Wonder’s project with the Jamaican Band, Happiness Unlimited.
In 1984,‘Ruption’ was recruited by the legendary Jimmy Cliff. He stayed with Cliff for 7 years and played on three of Cliff’s albums: Breakout; Imagine and Hanging Fire. He also played on albums for Burning Spear and international artiste, Khaled. In ’91, he joined one of the leading backing bands in Jamaica - SANE, and for 5 years they backed several renowned artistes, including Judy Mowatt, Michael Rose, Sugar Minott, Gregory Isaacs and Freddie McGregor.
Following this he played with Julian Marley’s band for a year, while developing his own band in Montego Bay, Fi Real. Joining Third World in early 1997, ‘Ruption’ has brought an intensity and precision, balanced by his playfulness that gives the rest of the band both the safety and the freedom to do spontaneous experimentation with the music.