Murvin “Junior Murvin” Smith
1949 – December 2, 2013
Junior Murvin was an influential reggae performer whose 1976 recording of “Police And Thieves” is considered one of the genre’s most important records. Born in Jamaica, Murvin began singing at an early age. After graduating from high school, he moved to Kingston to launch a career in music. After unsuccessfully auditioning for Lee Scratch Perry and Coxsone Dodd, he landed a deal with Gayfeet Records and later Crystal Records with whom he landed a minor hit with 1972’s “Solomon.” Murvin continued to build a following while performing throughout Jamaica’s many nightclubs and hotel bars until once again, auditioning for Perry in 1976. This time, Perry agreed to record a new song Murvin wrote called “Police And Thieves,” which lead to a full album by the same name for Island Records. The song became a fast hit in Jamaica as well as London where it became an anthem for the local rioters at the time. The album from which it came is considered by many to be Perry’s finest moment as a producer. The song made such an impact on Londoners, that the Clash recorded it and included it in their 1977 debut album. Murvin’s version later appeared in the films, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Rockers, and The Royal Tenenbaums while Dave Grohl recorded it for Reno 911!: Miami. Murvin’s final album, Signs And Wonders, came out in 1989. Junior Murvin was 64 when he passed away on December 2, 2013. He was reportedly suffering from diabetes.
Thanks to Craig Rosen at Number 1 Albums for the assist.