After 33 years 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 it's members, still pushes
forward the cutting edge of music
worldwide. It is an institution whose
themes are positive, progressive and
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, Rap and
Classical music. Third World is one of the
longest running and most diverse bands
Jamaica has ever produced.
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, 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 this song illustrated the group's
focus on the outer boundaries of music,
incorporating Rap by Daddy-O from
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
This openness to new paths in music led
to a crossroads in the evolution of the
band in 1997 - the departure of Michael
'Ibo' Cooper, and of drummer Willie
Stewart, who decided to take their
musical development down different
This void was readily filled by Herbie
Harris (formerly with Maxi Priest), who
assumed the role of keyboardist and
Drummer Tony 'Ruption' Williams (formerly
with Jimmy Cliff).
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."
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.
The group at different times were
contracted to Island Records, Columbia
Records, Mercury Records, CBS and Third
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 keeping Reggae
on the international music scene, yet still
remaining true to their roots.
To commemorate more than 30 years
together Third World launched their annual
THIRD WORLD AND FRIENDS concert on
the lawns of KINGS HOUSE in Kingston
Jamaica in 2004. The concert is held every
year on December 27. Third World and
friends features many of Jamaica's
greatest musicians such as Gregory
Isaacs, Tony Rebel, Damian Marley, Richie
Stevens, Beres Hammond, Cocoa Tea,
Sly & Robbie and many more.
For more than 33 years Third World has
continued to blaze new trails for Reggae
Music. The group has traveled around the
world several times spreading the message
of Peace, Love, & Unity for which they
have truly lived up to their title as Reggae
To date, Third World has released a total of
22 albums as well as solo projects from
Lead Singer Bunny Rugs and Guitarist Cat
Awards include: Recipients of the 1986
"United Nations Peace Medal," 1992 and
1996 Jamaica Music Industry awards for
Best Show Band, And 10 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,
Ain't Givin' Up and their new album Black
Gold and Green.
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."