10 things you didn’t know about Steel Pulse

1.  The band released their first single Kibudu, Mansetta And Abuku in 1975 on the Dip label.

2.  Steel Pulse was a regular opener for punk groups like Stranglers, Generation-X, XTC, and the Adverts around London from 1975-1977.  This resulted in the band being defined more as a punk outfit than a reggae group early on.

3.  The band can thank Burning Spear for bringing them to the attention of Island records.  Their first single issued by Island was titled “Ku Klux Klan” in 1977.  According to David Hinds, the song was based primarily on rumors that the US racist group had come to the UK to aid the National Front Party.

4.  VIBE Magazine ranks Steel Pulse as the best live reggae band on the planet (and I must agree).

5.  A 1981 tour of Africa ended early for the band when two members of the band contracted malaria.  This cut short performances in Nigeria and neighboring countries.

6.  From 1980 to 1981, Steel Pulse was away from England touring and when they returned to their native country all of their recording and management contracts had expired, so they started their own company/label called Wiseman Doctrine.

7.  Washington, DC radio broadcaster Tom Terrell, who would later serve as their manager, was instrumental in masterminding a Steel Pulse concert on the night of Bob Marley’s funeral, which was broadcast live around the world from the 9:30 Club, 930 F Street, N.W., Washington, D.C., on 21 May 1981.

8.  David Hinds’ first trip to Jamaica was in July 1981 to play Reggae Sunsplash:  A Tribute to Robert Nesta Marley.

9.  In May 1982, Steel Pulse released True Democracy on the Elektra label.  The album was recorded over 25 days in Denmark, with legendary reggae producer and engineer to Bob Marley and the Wailers Karl Pitterson, who they first recorded with on Handsworth Revolution.

10.  In 2013, while on tour in New Mexico, Steel Pulse livicated their performance to a fan named J.R. Torio.  After the show they made a special stop at his home in Santa Ana, NM where he lay gravely ill.  They sang “Ravers” to him and made sure to communicate with him everything they felt because they knew his condition was declining.  J.R. Torio passed in September 4, 2014.  The power of reggae music…

Read the whole story at David Hinds’ Dreadview

STEEL PULSE is currently on tour in the U.S.

I had the pleasure of interviewing and having a vegetarian dinner with David and Rootsman at Doctor dread’s house on the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Walk on Washington here in DC last year.

Here is a vinyl transfer of the 12″ he signed for me:




On a personal note, like most reggae fans from my generation, Steel Pulse plays such a defining role in my life.  To me music is the simplest yet most effective means of one culture communicating to another.  Everything I know about the hell of slavery, the black struggle for civil rights, and the great civil rights leaders of our time came not from the 18 years I spent in schools and universities, but from David Hinds.


4 thoughts on “10 things you didn’t know about Steel Pulse

  1. Cool list. Does a tape of that 930 show exist? Can’t agree that they are the best live band. Maybe in the early 80s but recently the sound has been a bit Casio keyboardie.

  2. The John Peel session is sick. I love that sound. I think once Basil Gabbidon left the band, the sound was never quite as good.

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