The Liquidator (instrumental)

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For other uses, see Liquidator (disambiguation).
"The Liquidator"
Single by The Harry J Allstars
B-side La La Always Stay - Glen and Dave
Released 1969 (1969)
Genre Reggae
Label Harry J Records
Writer(s) Harry Johnson
Producer(s) Harry Johnson

"The Liquidator" is a reggae instrumental recorded by the Harry J Allstars in 1969.[1]

Carlton Barrett says the instrumental was originally for a song by Tony Scott, "What Am I to Do". Harry Johnson bought the rights from Scott, licensed the track to Trojan and credited it to the Harry J Allstars. Alton Ellis said the core of the song was a lift from his rocksteady hit "Girl I've Got a Date".[2]

Musicians involved in the recording included the core of the Hippy Boys: bassist 'Family Man' Aston Barrett, drummer Carlton Barrett and guitarist Alva Lewis. They later formed the core of The Upsetters and The Wailers.The organ was played by Winston Wright who, as a member of Tommy McCook's Supersonics, was acknowledged as Jamaica's master of the Hammond organ. Wright featured on other Harry Johnson hits, including The Beltones' "No More Heartaches" and on Boris Gardiner's "Elizabethan Reggae".[3]

A variation was recorded featuring the sax of Val Bennett (entitled 'Tons of Gold'), but the Hippy Boys' original instrumental had the most success.[4]

The Staple Singers used the bass line and introduction from "The Liquidator" for their 1972 hit, "I'll Take You There".

Use at football matches[edit]

The tune is played before some football matches in the United Kingdom. Chelsea claim to have been first to play it. Chelsea's claims to be first to play it are backed by the first paragraph of the liner notes for "Liquidator - The Best of the Harry J All Stars". It says: "Way back in 1969, supporters of the Chelsea football team revered players such as Bonetti, Osgood and Hollins. The boys performed under the watchful eye of manager Dave Sexton to the tune of Harry J & All Stars chartbuster, 'The Liquidator'. The track is played by Chelsea before home games,[5] and was played by West Bromwich Albion in their match against Cardiff City towards the end of the 2013-2014 season, at the start of the match.[6] This was after several years without the track, as it encouraged fans at West Brom to swear.[5]


  1. ^ "Liquidator/La La Always Stay". Retrieved 23 September 2013. 
  2. ^ John Masouri: "Wailing Blues" # Publisher: Omnibus Press (1 March 2008) # ISBN 1-84609-689-8 # ISBN 978-1-84609-689-1
  3. ^ Lloyd Bradley 'This Is Reggae Music: The Story of Jamaica's Music' - Grove Press - ISBN 0-8021-3828-4
  4. ^ John Masouri: "Wailing Blues" # Publisher: Omnibus Press (1 March 2008) # ISBN 1-84609-689-8 # ISBN 978-1-84609-689-1
  5. ^ a b "Baggies may bring back fans' anthem The Liquidator for crucial relegation scrap". Birmingham Mail. 27 March 2014. Retrieved 3 April 2014. 
  6. ^ Durham, Adrian (29 March 2014). "DURHAM DOSSIER: West Brom-Cardiff was a brilliant advert for English football... and swearing should be allowed inside grounds". Retrieved 31 March 2014.