In 1973, a teenaged guitarist, cellist, and singer named Stephen ‘Cat’ Coore, then with the Inner Band left the safety of the ‘Circle’ to pursue his dream to write and perform original material incorporating reggae, rock and funk, and a desire to tour and take music to a wider audience. Thus Third World was conceived. 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 and Blues, Rap and even Classical Music. Third World is one of the longest running and most diverse bands Jamaica has ever produced.
Their Kingston premier in 1974 where they played reggae and funk, earned the group great reviews and gigs, as they were the only group comprised 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 artists ? 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 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 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).
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.
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.
Third World has released over 20 albums as well as solo projects from lead singer Bunny Rugs and Guitarist Cat Coore.
Third World (Island, 1976)
96° in the Shade (Island, 1977)
Journey to Addis (Island, 1978)
The Story’s Been Told (Island, 1979)
Arise in Harmony (Island, 1980)
Rock the World (CBS, 1981)
You’ve Got the Power (Columbia, 1982)
All the Way Strong (CBS, 1983)
Sense of Purpose (CBS, 1985)
Hold on to Love (Columbia, 1987)
Serious Business (Mercury, 1989)
Rock the World (Columbia, 1990)
Committed (Mercury, 1992)
Live It Up (Bud Music, 1995)
Generation Coming (Déclic Communication, 1999)
The Story’s Been Told (Island, 1999)
Ain’t Givin’ Up (Shanachie, 2003)
Riddim Haffa Rule (Music Avenue, 2004)
Black Gold Green (Nocturne, 2006)
Patriots (Third World Music Group, 2010)
Under the Magic Sun (Cleopatra, 2014)
Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.