The relationship between the original skinheads of the late 1960s and reggae music are often a source of debate as to the uninitiated they seem curious partners. The raw sounds of reggae were in great contrast to the progressive rock and pop tunes that dominated the BBC playlists; reggae had evolved from the slower Jamaican rocksteady. As to who produced that first reggae sound is a matter of conjecture with Bunny Lee always claiming to be the first.
In 1969 a record produced by Lee took the charts by storm despite no air play on the BBC. The record was always referred to as ''a record by Max Romeo'' during a rundown of the charts, it was of course ‘Wet Dream’ reaching number ten and reputed to have sold over 250,000 copies. The record became a huge hit for Pama who had released it on their Unity label. 1969 saw reggae emerge as a true force with one theory suggesting that the emerging skinheads had taken to the raw unpretentious sound of reggae music as a reaction to the mainstream music of the day, a statement that would reflect their fashion that had to some extent been copied from their black friends, including half mast trousers and almost shaven heads.
What is in no doubt by the summer of 69 skinheads and reggae were inseparable, a phase that was to last until 1972. The book tells the story of the rise of reggae from 1968 to its height and subsequent demise as by the end of 1972 reggae had evolved to what some say was watered down and string laden, a far cry from the original authentic sounds of the late 1960s which the remaining skinheads could no longer empathise. The major artists of the time, some who have sadly passed on are reviewed with their singles and albums and the compilation budget LP’s that were to become a very important mainstay of the reggae scene.