Steel Pulse are a roots reggae band from the Handsworth area of Birmingham, England. They originally formed at Handsworth Wood Boys School, and were composed of David Hinds (lead vocals, guitar), Basil Gabbidon (lead guitar, vocals), and Ronald McQueen (bass); along with Basil’s brother Colin briefly on drums and Mykaell Riley (vocals, percussion). Steel Pulse were the first non-Jamaican act to win the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album.
Island Records era (1977–1980)
Island Records era (1977–1980)
Their first release for Island was the “Ku Klux Klan” single, a tilt at the evils of racism, and one often accompanied by a visual parody of the sect on stage. By this time their ranks had swelled to include Selwyn Brown (keyboards), Steve “Grizzly” Nisbett (drums), Alphonso Martin (vocals, percussion) and Mykaell Riley (vocals). Their debut album, Handsworth Revolution (recorded in 1977 and released in early 1978), was part the evolution of roots reggae outside Jamaica. However, despite critical and moderate commercial success over three albums, the relationship with Island Records had soured by the advent of their third album, Caught You (released in the US as Reggae Fever).
The band made their US concert debut at the Mudd Club in New York in 1980.
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.
True Democracy (1982)
Earth Crisis (1984)
State of Emergency (1988)
Rage and Fury (1997)
African Holocaust (2004)
Mass Manipulation (2019) Grammy Award Nominee – Best Reggae Album
Rastafari Centennial – Live in Paris (Elysee Montmartre) (1992)
Living Legacy (1998)
Reggae Greats (1984)
Smash Hits (1993)
Ultimate Collection (2000)
20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best of Steel Pulse (2004)
Rastanthology II: The Sequel (2006)
Love This Reggae Music: 1975–2015 (2016)
Short Circuit: Live at the Electric Circus (1977) (one track – Makka Splaff)
Hope & Anchor Front Row Festival (1978) (one track – Sound Check)
Urgh! A Music War (1981)
Live from the Archives (1992)
“Kibudu Mansatta Abuku” (1976)
“Nyah Luv” (1977)
“Ku Klux Klan” (1978)
“Prodigal Son” (1978)
“Sound System” (1979)
“Reggae Fever” (1980)
“Don’t Give In” (1980)
“Your House” (1982)
“Steppin’ Out” (1984)
“Reaching Out” (1988)
“Taxi Driver” (1993)
“Brown Eyed Girl” (1996)
“Global Warning” (2004)
“No More Weapons” (2004)
“Door of No Return” (2007)
“Put Your Hoodies On [4 Trayvon]” (2014)
“Stop You Coming and Come” (2018)
In a 2013 interview with Midnight Raver, David Hinds indicated that a new studio album and documentary, tentatively titled Steel Pulse: The Definitive Story, would be released in 2014. However, on 10 July 2014 Midnight Raver reported that, according to Hinds, both the studio album and documentary will be delayed until at least 2015.
In anticipation of a new Steel Pulse album, the Roots Reggae Library has indexed two compilation albums of the latest Steel Pulse singles. The albums are called Positivity and Jah Way, both named after tracks on the albums.
In October 2018, Steel Pulse announced their new album, the first in 14 years, Mass Manipulation, was released on Rootfire Cooperative a non-traditional label that provides interest-free loans and label services to independent musicians. The single “Stop You Coming and Come” was released on 7 December. The album was nominated for the 2020 Grammy Awards.
Awards and nominations
A Grammy award was awarded for their 1986 album Babylon the Bandit. Steel Pulse has received nominations for Victims (1991), Rastafari Centennial (1992), Rage and Fury (1998), and Living Legacy (2000). and Mass Manipulation (2019).