Soundtrack of an Election


Soundtrack of an Election

Thursday, March 26, 2020

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Living in Jamaica in 1980 was like sitting next to a ticking bomb. Similar to today, crime was a major problem for the g overnment, then led by the People's National Party (PNP) under prime Minister Michael Manley.

Dogged by the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and their leader Edward Seaga, Manley was forced to call a general election on October 30 that year. The JLP won decisively, taking 51 of the 60 parliamentary seats.

It ended eight years of acrimonious, yet popular rule, by the Manley Government, which controversially promoted democratic socialism as its mantra.

Entertainment was a big part of the Jamaican landscape in 1980. Bob Marley was planning his most ambitious tour of the United States, and scheduled to headline Zimbabwe's independence celebrations in April; Jacob Miller, charismatic lead singer of the Inner Circle band, died in an auto accident in March; General Echo, the raunchy deejay, was controversially killed by police in November; guided by Sly and Robbie, Black Uhuru made international inroads, while Dennis Brown ruled the charts.

Next week, the Jamaica Observer's Entertainment Desk will revisit those times in a series called Soundtrack of an Election. It will recapture the vibe in cinemas, clubs, theatres and recording studios; what, and who, were hot in Jamaica 40 years ago.

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