This is a Lambretta blog, not a music one. But I’m going to take a moment to acknowledge the sad passing of musical legend Prince Buster.
37 years ago (!), almost to the day, my life changed. That’s the day Madness performed their first single “The Prince” on Top of The Pops. The song (as was the band’s name) was tribute to someone I’d never heard of… Prince Buster. I knew that this was the group I’s been waiting for. Only a couple of years older than me, but with such a cool, fun, nutty vibe about them… the clothes! The music! Down to Woolies the next day, clutching my 75p, The Prince became my fourth record in my collection. (The others were The Sex Pistols “Silly Thing”, Allies Tartan Army by Andy Cameron, and The Birdy Song – a gift form my Granny – honestly). The B Side of The Prince was just as good – if not better – a song called Madness – a Prince Buster cover. With The Specials in the charts with a cover of Al Capone, (retitled Gangsters of course) and Madness to soon release One Step Beyond, the influence ‘The Prince’ is undeniable. I was lucky enough to see Prince Buster live on several occasions… including with Madness at Finsbury Park.
I, like a lot of my generation, began to seek out the originals. Prince Buster was a revelation. Songs like One Step Beyond, Al Capone, Rough Rider, Wreck a Pum Pum and Big 5 are classics. The whole ska / mod / skinhead scene was inexorably linked to the world of scooters… so maybe, without Prince Buster – no Madness – no love of scooters – no Lambrettista Blog…
RIP ‘The Prince’ A true innovator, original rude boy and musical legend.