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Legendary Jamaican Ska Pioneer Prince Buster Has Died at 78

The Jamaican musician who helped pioneer ska music in the 60s and who provided inspiration for a generation of musicians including Madness has died.

by VICE Staff
08 September 2016, 10:52pm

Rocksteady and ska pioneer Prince Buster, who is credited with helping to shape Jamaican music, has died at his home in Miami. He was 78.

Born Cecil Bustamante Campbell in Kingston, Jamaica, he performed under the stage name Prince Buster and became a legend of the 1960s Jamaican rocksteady genre, an evolution of ska that eventually led to reggae.

Buster also helped the foundation of ska’s revival in the late 70s and early 80s. British band Madness, took their name after Buster’s song of the same title.

Buster first began recording music in 1960, when he produced the Folkes Brothers’ “Oh Carolina.” In 1961 he released the single “Little Honey” and in 1963 put out his first studio album, I Feel the Spirit. In 1967, his song “Al Capone” reached #18 on the UK Charts, the first Jamaican track to crack the British Top 20.

A keen boxer, he met Muhammad Ali in 1965 and converted Islam, changing his name in Muhammed Yusef Ali.

In 2001, the Jamaican government awarded Buster an Order of Distinction for his contribution to music.