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derrickmorgan primer-dia - Dec 2014

I heard this song a few times now over the last couple of weeks on either within T.V adverts or within the background sounds of television soaps or shows. And you know what, it still sounds good. In fact it has me turning up the volume of the programme that has the track in its programme so that I can hear more of it every time it surfaces.

The track that is in question is this. Tougher then Tough by Derrick Morgan. The single was released within the year of 1966, and is widely credited as being the 1st Rock steady Record ever made.

First of all have you ever heard of Derrick Morgan? He comes from the island that is Jamaica. If you haven't please then continue to read the rest of the article. If you have, still continue to read on as you may learn even more about this giant within Jamaican Music.

Such was his popularity within the 1960's within Jamaican music scene. He achieved an incredible feat of obtaining 7 tracks within the top 10 of the nations pop charts.

From Number 1 to number 7 - it was all Derrick Morgan. Such was his dominance that the Jamaican Government had to ask him to slow down, and allow other artists a chance in regards being heard and charted in the Jamaican charts!!! He then got entered into the Guiness Book of Records because of this feat.

It was because of this feat he became known as the King of Ska music.

He is Jamaica's first true music star, and yet the world is not either aware of this; or they can't be bothered.

Please read below in regards to Derrick Morgan/s own account of what happened.

Q:And it got so successful at one point that you occupied the first seven positions on the chart, didn't you?

"Yes, yes. In those days when we work, we worked for... it is just a ten pound. We make them pounds for each song we recorded. So I make a lot of hits. I go around, I sing for any producer. So everybody was releasing them songs, making hit songs out of everyone. So with everyone releasing it's in the chart. It's two radio stations, so y'know I dominated the stations with the songs that sell, on both stations.

From one to seven, all hit songs: number one, two, three, four, five, six, seven - I would have songs coming in at fourteen, fifteen and sixteen, an' so on - they had a label, the other ones they come into the top ten. I was dominating those days, because the songs them I used to sing, you see, the people them really loved them. Love songs, I use to write songs offa what's going on around me. They used to love it, and I used to get a lot of hits. They used to call me 'The Hitmaker', also 'The Hit Person', ca' I used to break my own hits. I used to steal the chart away from everyone".....

Pasage above taken from the - Reggae Vibes and Derrick Morgan

The single that I love to death is now fondly regarded as a true classic via Reggae fans, Mods  and even Skinheads

The You tube Video that shows you the difference between Mods and Skinheads below.

At the time Ska was the music of choice within Jamaica. For those that wanted an explanation of what Ska is. Well I hope this helps. Ska combined or fused the musical elements of Jamaican Mento, American Jazz and Rhythm and Blues.

Check this You tube video out about Ska music

It also incorporates a walking bassline and an accent on the second beat within the bar.

The history of Ska music which then turned into the music of Rock steady music can be put down to this. After the 2nd World WarJamaicans began purchasing Radio in large amounts throughout the island and that allowed them to catch shows broadcasting manly from the Southern states within the Usa. Artists such as Fats Domino, Chuck Berry and Louis Jordan soon became firm favourites within Jamaica as a result.

Also what not be forgotten as well was  the close proximately of Usa military installations near Jamaica also allowed them to catch Radio broadcasts as well at the time.

To cater for this demand within Jamaica for Rhythm and Blues music. Music entrepreneurs such as Duke Reid and Coxsonne Dodd helped formed what is known today as Sound systems.

As the Usa Rhythm and Blues sound began to develop its self and more on, the demand for the same style of Rhythm and Blues within Jamaica was still there. They wanted more. To keep up with demand for this music, These same Sound systems operators were now thinking of way of developing their own Jamaican Rhythm and Blues sound.

One theory about the origin of ska is that Prince Bustercreated it during the inaugural recording session for his new record label Wild Bells.

 The session was financed by Duke Reid, who was supposed to get half of the songs to release. The guitar began emphasizing the second and fourth beats in the bar, giving rise to the new sound. The drums were taken from traditional Jamaican drumming and marching styles. To create the ska beat, Prince Buster essentially flipped the R&B shuffle beat, stressing the offbeats with the help of the guitar.

Prince Buster states that American Rhythm and Blues tracks like Willis Jackson - Later for the Gator, Oh Berry and Hey, Hey Mr. Berry were used to create this new sound called Ska.

The first ska recordings were created at facilities such as Studio One  and WIRL Records in Kingston, Jamaica.  

 The Ska sound coincided with the celebratory feelings surrounding Jamaica's independence from the UK during 1962; an event commemorated by artists such as Derrick Morgan's "Forward March" and The Skatalites "Freedom Sound." However because the newly independent Jamaica didn't ratify the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Worksuntil 1994 copyright was not an issue, which created a large number of cover songs and reinterpretations. 

The musical style that is Ska started from 1960, and lasted until 1966; whereby another musical change took place within Jamaica known as Rock steady.

The Rock steady musical style that existed within Jamaican music only lasted for about two years - 1966 to 1968. Rock steady uses musical elements such as Rhythm and Blues, Jazz, Ska and African Drumming styles within its make up.

One of its most recognisable features is its off beat Rhythms and the staccato like chords played by a guitar and piano on the offbeats of the measure. This means that it will be play on the "and" - So for example - 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and.

Another characteristic is that Rocksteadys music was built around the "one drop" drum beat, characterized by a heavy accent on the second and fourth beat of every bar. The snare drum often plays a side stick "click" rather that a full snare hit; an influence from Latin music.

Also the tempo of Rock steady music is of a lesser pace of what is of Ska music is.

A Heatwave had hit Jamaica within the year of 1966, which meant that the pace of the music which was Ska. Had become very uncomfortable for the dancers who liked to dance. So the music was slowed down to accommodate for the dancers still to take part in dancing.

This slowing down of the music also allowed for the bass players to explore more broken, syncopated rhythms within the music as well.

By doing this it meant that Band sizes were reduced to allow for the Bass and the other rhythmic instruments as well as the vocalist to come to the fore more. There was LESS emphasis on the Horn section, or Horn musicians as it was within Ska music.

This led to Rocksteady Music being created.

Please click on the You tube below.


Another factor to the rise of Rock steady music is also noted that many of the countries young people were leaving the countryside areas of Jamaica to come live and find work within the ghettos of Kingston, Jamaica. As the numbers continued to rise, many could not find work, and started to become attracted to the new state of "cool" which was to become a Rude Boy or Rude Girl. - Jamaican Gleanor - 1st JANUARY 2012

Rude Boy or Rude Girl, favoured sharp suits, thin ties, and Pork Pie or Trilby hats, showing an influence of the fashions of American Jazz musicians and Soul music artists

I have included a You tube video which shows the impact that Soul, Ska and Rocksteady music had on England's youth culture during the 1960's.

Also it shows how the 2 x rival youth tribes looked on life in general.

(Please click on the Video)

Due to the high unemployment rate amongst youngsters at the time. Many found employment via the Sound systems operators that has made a name for themselves during the Ska music craze within Jamaica.

However, one of the ugly practices was that some of these followers were determined that their Sound systems won in regards to another competition that had been set in regards to a Sound systems clash.

The violence that came out of these clashes gave rise to certain record releases under the banner of Rock steady music to gain favour.

Probably, the most famous Rock steady record ever made and even some claim to being the first true Rock steady record ever made was this. As mentioned already within the article it is this track called Tougher then Tough by Derrick Morgan.

Here below is Derrick Morgan performing the Rude boy classic tune live at the:


 Well that all folks for me now anyway.

Please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. me here. If you want to discuss anything mentioned here in this article.

Dj Mistri and the Electric Soul Show ©