Zap-Pow to receive the 2014 JARIA HONOUR AWARD

Zap-Pow to receive the 2014 JARIA HONOUR AWARD

The Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA)  has selected the ZAPOW BAND has been selected to receive the  2014 JARIA HONOUR AWARD in the BAND category in February  2014.

February is Reggae Month and the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA) will be staging the seventh celebration in Jamaica with a series of live concerts, workshops and an Honour Awards presentation to be held on Saturday, February 15, 2014 at the Courtleigh Auditorium in Kingston. This special recognition will highlight and celebrate ZAP-POW’s  significant contributions and achievements which have impacted positively in the development and promotion of Reggae, the musical root of our nation which has now exploded globally.

STORY OF THE SONG Gender jibes on Bigger Boss

STORY OF THE SONG Gender jibes on Bigger Boss

Men and women, represented by the voices of Dwight Pinkney and Shirley McLean, respectively, jibe in two senses of the word on the 1986 hit Bigger Boss.Click to play Bigger Boss

They spar verbally throughout the Pinkney-penned song, alternating lines as they claim dominance and, in the end, they seem to agree (although it is unstated) that a balance is necessary for both to thrive.

Pinkney, who also played rhythm guitar on the track, sings man is the bigger boss, bigger, bigger boss, McLean countering woman is the bigger boss, bigger bigger, bigger boss. In the early stages, Pinkney sings who was the first one on creation?, to which McLean replies Eve had him eating out of her hand.

And, coming up to the end, Pinkney goes for the big day, asking whose name has to change on the wedding day? And McLean relies on matters of procreation, demanding I want you tell me who gives birth to the baby before they chorus merrily I am the bigger boss.

Empowering women

Pinkney, who wrote the entire song, says he approached McLean because she is one of the artistes I admire when it comes to female matters. In a separate interview with The Sunday Gleaner, McLean points out that she had a number of top 10 songs, such as Nuh Scrub Nuh Floor, empowering women. So Bigger Boss was right in line with what I was writing at the time. Pinkney had hit previously with Nenge Nenge.

The music was recorded at Channel One, downtown Kingston, and the vocals laid at the then Aquarius Studio in Half-Way Tree. Musicians included Scully on percussions, Stanley Bray on drums, Danny Axeman Thompson (bass), Glendon Anderson and Mallory Williams (keyboards), Lascelles Hewitt (rhythm guitar) and Pinkney (lead guitar), the Midnight Riders doing harmony vocals.

Pinkney says he knew Bigger Boss was a hit, based on the reaction of people at the studios. While that is not always a sure indication, it does provide a springboard behind the song. He says musically it was solid, the storyline was solid and you could relate to it, both genres.

As a writer, you try to find something that is commercial. You going to find a slot where you dont have a bunch of that storyline out there, he told The Sunday Gleaner about the songwriting process. You did not have many male-female duets going on at that time and none of that storyline. Thats the process I used and it worked.

Bigger Boss caught on immediately and hit the top spot on the JBC radio charts, Pinkney remembering it peaking at about number two on RJRs. McLean recalls that it was awarded Song of the Year at the Rockers Awards and by both radio stations.

Pinkney says what put Bigger Boss in another realm was its music video. Unlike other videos of the day where mostly studio shots of the performers using headphones were used, we did a mini-movie almost. That helped propel it.

There was a side effect, as Pinkney says the video made him a mini-superstar at his daughters school, Wolmers Prep. I had to be hiding when I went to pick her up. The children would swarm me. I had to park somewhere away and get a message to her. Those were children. I can only imagine adults, Pinkney said.

Biggest song to date

He says he did not perform much in those days, leaning more to recording, and there was one particular singer who literally took over the song. One performance that does stand out, though, is at McLeans wedding, where she joined him onstage in her wedding gown.

McLean says Pinkney had altered the words for the occasion and I dont know what got into me. I said I had to do it with him. I just said no man. In my wedding dress, I just go up there and sing it. She also remembers outstanding performances on Sunsplash and a Sly and Robbie concert held at Cinema 2 in New Kingston.

It is my biggest song to date, McLean said. And Pinkney sums up it was really fun.


  • Men, women battle over Legal Rights, SweetheartIt is perhaps inevitable that the sometimes battle of the sexes finds its way into song, male and female performers sparring verbally as they seek the upper hand for their respective genders.All in good fun, of course.Jamaican music has had a few songs where male-female duets work out issues of gender equality verbally.1. Legal Rights. The 1983 dancehall song from the lyrical marathon man and his protégé on Creation sound system from Spanish Town declared (the two singing the lines together) man have a right, woman have a right too, if you dont hurt me, me nah go hurt you. (This is after, in the beginning, Papa San muses me have my legal right and Lady G replies me have my legal right too and Papa San observes di two a wi even.) The hurt comes up soon enough, as after labelling Lady G his sugar plum-plum, Papa San warns if u eva cheat pon me, try gimme bun, de mount a lick yu get yu body come dung. And Lady G retorts when yu ready fi come, anytime yu lick me, yu days woulda done, me have a police cousin weh live a Kingston. And so they continue, waxing lyrical on matters of infidelity (at one point Lady G demands gimme way mek mi pass, mi ago phone fi mi man a New York) and breaking up before Lady G jokes look how you a sweat and saying a joke me a mek.The pair also had Round-table Talk, with Lady G ordering Papa San around his household chores and requesting that he stop wearing her clothes.2. Bim and Clovers 1975 Sweetheart is anything but sweet nothings between a pair of lovers. Bim tells Clover I would like you and my sweetheart to be friends, proposing that she get chummy with the person whom in Jamaica some years later would be called her matie. He suggests thats the only way your jealousy will end. Clover replies the wife and sweetheart should never be friends, but later in the song she turns the tables on Bim and, after a jolly laugh, says I would like you and my sweetheart to be friends. An angry Bim retorts never dare to use those words to me again! Clover quickly says I was only making fun and a still angry Bim answers thats one joke I dont run!
    Mel Cooke Gleaner writer
Zap-Pow Honoured 30 Years After Break-up

Zap-Pow Honoured 30 Years After Break-up

Chances are that, for many, Zap Pow conjures up images of old comic books where the forces of good overcome the evil design of the villain with a few well-placed blows.

However, from just after Jamaica switched from the British to its own currency until on the brink of the landmark 1980 General Election, it meant something else. It meant music and, nearly 30 years after what Zap Pow bands co-founder guitarist Dwight Pinkney calls Jamaicas first show band broke up, they were honoured at the recent Prime Ministers Gala on Independence Day.

I didnt expect it because the years have passed, but I must really compliment the Prime Minister and the powers that be for recognising the contribution Zap Pow band has made over the years, and we are very honoured for the privilege, Pinkney said.

The unit that played This is Reggae Music, Mystic Mood, Sweet Loving Love and Last War at Jamaica House on Monday, August 6, was a mixture of original Zap Pow members and guests. The originals were Pinkney, trumpeter David Madden, saxophonist Glen DaCosta and Richard T-Bird Johnson, who played along with guests Keith Francis (bass), Earl Fitzsimmons (keyboards), DeLeon Jubba White (drums) and Luke Dixon (keyboards). Oneil Shines Lawrence was on lead vocals, supported by the harmony o Di Chick Hewitt, Jasmine Black and Conroy Jarrett.

Of all those missing from the original unit, Pinkney missed the man who gave the band its name most.

Co-founder missed

My one regret was that Michael Zap Pow Williams, the co-founder with me, he is no longer with us, but I made sure his eldest son was in attendance, Pinkney said.

A story published in The Sunday Gleaner on September 4, 2005, recorded that (Michael) Williams came up with the name Zap Pow and, in 1969, another leaf turned in the history of Jamaican music. The core of the band was Pinkney, Williams, trumpeter David Madden and drummer Danny Mowatt, Madden adding saxophonist Glen DaCosta to the roster. Their first song, Mystic Mood, which many people did not believe was done by a Jamaican group at first, was a hit.

After recording the album Zap Pow Now for Island Records in the mid 1970s and playing in Cayman, Guyana, Suriname (for CARIFESTA), Mexico, Canada, Bermuda and all over the United States of America, Zap Pow broke up in 1979.

It continued: Zap Pow grew until we were the highest-paid band in the land, Pinkney said. As such, they had their choice of vocalists and we went through quite a few. Among them were Bunny Rugs, now lead singer for Third World, and the deceased Jacob Miller, former lead singer for Inner Circle. The one who stayed the longest was Beres Hammond, whom Pinkney credits with being our best vocalist, too.

Jamaicas first show band

We were the first show band in Jamaica. Before that, all the bands were dance bands. We originate the concept that you can have your own self-contained band that put on a show, he said in that story.

Now Pinkney points out that Third World and those guys who got big used to come and take us in, right up front.

He adds that there is a resurgence in the interest in Zap Pows music as VP Records has just put out a compilation and Trojan Records is set to put out a collection in October.

As we speak one of our tracks, Last War, that is what made Collie Budz, he said, as the deejays hit Come Around is on the rhythm for that song. In addition, deejay Albarosie has also done a song on the rhythm, which is soon to be released.

It is so coincidental, everything seems to come 30-odd years later, but better late than never, Pinkney said.