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."