Anthem (Black Uhuru album)

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Black Uhuru Anthem.jpg
Studio album by
RecordedCompass Point Studios, Nassau, Bahamas and Dynamic Studio, Kingston, Jamaica
ProducerSly Dunbar, Robbie Shakespeare
Black Uhuru chronology
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic2.5/5 stars[1]
Robert ChristgauA[2]

Anthem is an album by Black Uhuru, released originally in 1983 and internationally in 1984. In 1985, the album won Black Uhuru the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Recording.[3] Anthem has been released in three editions, each with different track listings and mixes, as well as a box set.


Lyrically, Anthem retains the trenchancy of its predecessors, criticizing social injustice and economic materialism and extolling Rastafarian values such as Afrocentrism, social equality and ital diet. Musically, it fuses roots reggae and dub with "synthetic", electropop instrumentation and effects, resulting in an "ambiance of pop-reggae futurism".[4]


Anthem won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Recording in 1985, the first year the award existed.[3]

The album was well-received, earning Black Uhuru the highest accolades and broadest audience of their career.[4] The traditionally non-reggae elements added in the remixes were polarizing. Both Robert Christgau and Allmusic's John Gonsalves were dubious about the remixes; Christgau felt that the songs held up in spite of the added effects while Gonsalves did not.[2][1]

The album's success led to tensions between Duckie Simpson and Michael Rose, resulting in Rose's departure from the group. Rose has stated that the album "came before its time".[4]


Anthem has been released in three editions: the original recording, the UK remix and the US remix;[4] despite their names, both of the latter were marketed internationally. All three editions were included in a limited-edition box set, The Complete Anthem Sessions, along with non-album and previously-unreleased tracks.

Originally produced by Sly and Robbie, the album was resequenced and remixed by record company Island Records,[5] omitting gaps between songs and further emphasizing the electropop aspect, particularly on the US version.[4] The UK and US editions respectively omitted "Party Next Door" and the Sly and the Family Stone cover "Somebody's Watching You", substituting a cover of Steven Van Zandt's "Solidarity", a charting non-album single from late 1983.

Track listing[edit]

Island ILPS 9769 (UK), originally released November 1983. Track lengths are for the original, uncut versions.

1."What Is Life?"Simpson5:42
2."Party Next Door"Rose3:06
3."Try It"Rose5:28
4."Black Uhuru Anthem"Simpson5:28
5."Botanical Roots"Rose4:58
6."Somebody's Watching You"Sylvester Stewart5:47
7."Bull in the Pen"Rose5:23

Track listing: UK remix[edit]

Island ILPS 9773 (UK), originally released July 1984. All tracks remixed by Paul "Groucho" Smykle.

Track listing: US remix[edit]

Island 90180-1 (US), originally released July 1984. All tracks remixed by Paul "Groucho" Smykle except as indicated.

Track listing: The Complete Anthem Sessions[edit]

Hip-O Select B0002661-02, released 2004 (box set). Also marketed as The Complete Anthem and simply Anthem.


  • Michael Rose – lead vocals
  • Puma Jones – harmony vocals
  • Duckie Simpson – harmony vocals
  • Darryl Thomson – guitar
  • Mikey Chung – rhythm guitar
  • Robbie Shakespeare – bass
  • Sly Dunbar – drums
  • Franklyn "Bubbler" Waul, Radcliffe "Dougie" Bryan – keyboards
  • Dean Fraser – saxophone
  • Ronald "Nambo" Robinson – trombone
  • David Madden, Junior "Chico" Chin – trumpet
  • Bernie Worrell – clavinet on "Somebody's Watching You"
  • Chris "Sky Juice" Burth – percussion on "Party Next Door"
  • Sly and Robbie - producers (original and dub releases)
  • Steven Stanley - mixing (original release)
  • Black Uhuru, Steven Stanley and Paul "Groucho" Smykle - producers (UK and US remixes)
  • Chris Blackwell - executive producer (UK and US remixes)
  • Noel Hearne, Steven Stanley – engineers
  • Lynn Goldsmith – photography


  1. ^ a b Gonsalves, John. "Black Uhuru: Anthem > Review" at AllMusic. Retrieved 12 November 2010.
  2. ^ a b Christgau, Robert. "Black Uhuru". Retrieved 27 September 2011.
  3. ^ a b "Anthem > Charts & Awards > Grammy Awards" at AllMusic. Retrieved 12 November 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d e Katz, David (2004) Liner notes, The Complete Anthem Sessions, Hip-O Select.
  5. ^ Campbell, Howard (2014) "Black Uhuru makes an Anthem", Jamaica Observer, 10 January 2014. Retrieved 11 January 2014