Steel Pulse Appears On ‘Rockpalast’ In 1979
Legendary reggae group Steel Pulse appeared on the German television program Rockpalast on December 12, 1979. The band had formed just four years earlier in Birmingham, UK by guitarists David Hinds and Basil Gabbidon after hearing Bob Marley And The Wailers’ 1973 album, Catch A Fire. But the group was often barred from venues in Birmingham because of their Rastafarian beliefs. So they found a home with another group of outcasts, the punk rockers.
As the mid to late 1970s saw the emergence of punk in England, Steel Pulse began playing punk venues with punk bands. There has always been a dialogue between reggae, its predecessor ska, and punk. But Steel Pulse eventually came to the attention of fellow reggae legend Winston Rodney, who went by the stage name, Burning Spear.
Rodney would subsequently turn Island Records on to the young UK reggae group and Steel Pulse released their first album on the label, Handsworth Revolution (named after the neighborhood they hailed from in Birmingham), in 1977 and followed it up with Tribute to the Martyrs in 1979.
And so Steel Pulse — at the time consisting of guitarists Hinds and Gabbidon, keyboardist Selwyn Brown, bassist Ronnie McQueen, percussionist Phonso Martin and drummer Steve “Grizzly” Nisbett — stepped on to the Rockpalast stage armed with material from the aforementioned albums. The band kicked things off with “Bad Man” from Handsworth followed by “Uncle George” from Martyrs. The set also contains vintage Steel Pulse songs like “Babylon Makes The Rules,” “Chant a Psalm” and their debut single, the anti-racism “Ku Klux Klan.” The band closed out the set with “Sound System” off Martyrs.
Watch Steel Pulse’s 1979 Rockpalast appearance below via MoBoogie for this edition of Sunday Cinema:
Bad Man, Uncle George, Harassment, Babylon Makes The Rules, Chant a Psalm, Drug Squad, Soldiers, Tribute To The Martyrs, Reggae Fever, Ku Klux Klan, Sound System