Musical Youth

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Musical Youth
Musical Youth lead vocalist Dennis Seaton performing in Austria, 2005
Musical Youth lead vocalist Dennis Seaton performing in Austria, 2005
Background information
OriginBirmingham, England
GenresReggae, R&B
Years active1979–1985, 2001–present
MembersDennis Seaton
Michael Grant
Past membersKelvin Grant
Freddie "Junior" Waite
Patrick Waite

Musical Youth are a British-Jamaican reggae band formed in 1979 in Birmingham, England. They are best remembered for their 1982 single "Pass the Dutchie", which was a number 1 in multiple charts around the world. Their other hits include "Youth of Today", "Never Gonna Give You Up", and a collaboration with Donna Summer, "Unconditional Love". Musical Youth recorded two albums and earned a Grammy Award nomination before disbanding in 1985 after a series of personal problems. The band returned in 2001 as a duo.


The group was formed in 1979 when the fathers of Kelvin and Michael Grant, and Frederick (known as Junior) and Patrick Waite put together a band featuring their sons.[1] The latter pair's father, Frederick Waite Sr., had been a member of the Jamaican reggae group the Techniques. At the start of Musical Youth's career, he sang lead with Junior. Musical Youth were influenced by reggae artists such as Sugar Minott, Aswad, Gregory Isaacs, Dennis Brown, John Holt and Beshara.[2] Although schoolboys (attending the Duddeston Manor School[3]), the group managed to secure gigs at different Birmingham pubs and released a double single in 1981, including songs "Generals" and "Political", on a local label 021 Records, named after the then-Birmingham area code. An appearance on BBC Radio 1 John Peel's evening show brought further attention to the group, and they were signed to MCA Records.[1] By that time, founding member Frederick Waite Sr. had backed down to be replaced by Dennis Seaton as lead singer.

In September 1982, the group issued the single "Pass the Dutchie", adapted from the Mighty Diamonds' "Pass the Kouchie".[4][5] The record went to number one in the UK Singles Chart in October 1982,[6] as well as Ireland, Australia, Canada, and a number of other countries around the world. It also reached the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States, and went on to sell over four million copies.[7] Musical Youth would also be the first black act to have a music video played on the newly founded channel MTV.[8][9] Their debut album The Youth of Today, released in the same year, placed in the top 40 in the UK, Germany and the USA, and the top 10 in Canada. It was certified gold in the UK and Canada. The follow-up singles, "Youth of Today", released at the end of the year, and "Never Gonna Give You Up", released early in 1983, reached number 13 and 6 in the UK, respectively,[6] and were moderately successful in the international charts. The next single, "Heartbreaker", was only a minor UK success.

The band released the new single "Tell Me Why" in mid-1983, a cover of a 1974 John Holt song, which reached the top 40 in several European countries. The follow-up, a cover of Desmond Dekker's "007" was a moderate hit only in the British market. In the meantime, the group featured on Donna Summer's song "Unconditional Love" which was a hit in the UK, reaching number 14.[10] They also took part in her 1983 TV special A Hot Summer Night with Donna. Musical Youth's second album, Different Style!, was released in 1983 and showcased a more R&B-influenced repertoire to make the band more accessible in North America. It was reflected in the lead single in that market, "She's Trouble", but it only achieved minor success. The album itself turned out a commercial failure on both European and American markets, though the band received a nomination for the Best New Artist award at the 26th Grammy Awards.[11] After one final UK hit in early 1984 with "Sixteen", featuring Jody Watley, their commercial success ended and the next two singles, "Whatcha Talking 'Bout" and "Let's Go to the Moon", penned by Stevie Wonder and Eddy Grant, respectively,[12] failed to enter the charts.

With their careers going downhill, the band members became embroiled in legal, financial and personal problems.[13][14] In 1985, Dennis Seaton left the band, leading to its dissolution.[3] In 1989, he released a solo album Imagine That... which passed without a success. Plans for a reunion of Musical Youth were halted when Patrick Waite suddenly died in February 1993, at the age of 24, having collapsed at home from a hereditary heart condition, awaiting court appearance.[1][9] 1994 saw the release of a compilation album, Anthology, and a single with remixes of "Pass the Dutchie", followed by another compilation, Maximum Volume... The Best of Musical Youth, in 1995. Michael Grant co-founded the band 5am which released two singles in 1996, and went on to produce remixes for Da Brat, Kelly Rowland, and Lemar, among others. In 2000, they founded 5am Records, a label focused mainly on R&B and gospel music.[15] Seaton formed his own band, XMY, and opened a car rental company. Junior Waite has been suffering from a mental illness and according to former bandmates, is unlikely to recover.[16][17]

In 2001, Dennis Seaton and Michael Grant reformed Musical Youth as a duo. The planned tour was cancelled due to the September 11 attacks,[18] but in 2003, the band performed as part of the Here and Now tour, an annual series of nostalgia concerts featuring musicians of the 1980s.[19] They featured on Pato Banton's 2004 single "Pretty Woman", and performed at a festival in Wiesen, Austria in 2005. The band's new music was made available for purchase exclusively from their website.[20] In 2008, Musical Youth released a re-recorded version of "Pass the Dutchie", followed by a cover of Boney M.'s "Mary's Boy Child – Oh My Lord" in 2009, and Jimmy Cliff's "The Harder They Come" in 2013. The latter was the lead single from their new album, initially titled Reggae for the People and later renamed When Reggae Was King. It was scheduled for release in 2016, but after several pushbacks, it was eventually released on CD in March 2018[21] and in digital distribution in 2020.[22] Former member Kelvin Grant has continued solo career, performing and releasing new material,[23][24] most recently the album Defend Them in 2018.[25]

Band members[edit]

  • Dennis Seaton — lead vocals, percussion (1982–1985; 2001–present)
  • Michael Grant — keyboard, backing vocals (1979–1985; 2001–present)
  • Kelvin Grant — electric guitar, lead vocals, backing vocals (1979–1985)
  • Freddie "Junior" Waite — drums, backing vocals (1979–1985)
  • Patrick Waite — bass guitar (1979–1985)


Studio albums[edit]

Year Title Peak chart positions Certifications
1982 The Youth of Today 24 80 8 23 23 42 23 11
1983 Different Style! 90 144 50
2018 When Reggae Was King


  • 1987: Pass the Dutchie
  • 1994: Anthology
  • 1995: Maximum Volume... The Best of Musical Youth
  • 2004: 20th Century Masters – The Millennium Collection: The Best of Musical Youth


  • 2011: Christmas EP


Year Title Peak chart positions Certifications Album
1981 "Generals"/"Political" N/A
1982 "Pass the Dutchie" 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 10 8 The Youth of Today
"Youth of Today" 13 99 7 29 9 4 19
1983 "Never Gonna Give You Up" 6 28 5
"Heartbreaker" 44 68
"Tell Me Why" 33 35 20 31 Different Style!
"Unconditional Love" (with Donna Summer) 14 57 48 28 24 43 9 She Works Hard for the Money
"007" 26 27 Different Style!
"She's Trouble" 87 43 65 25
1984 "Sixteen" (with Jody Watley) 23 27
"Whatcha Talking 'Bout" 81
"Let's Go to the Moon" N/A
1994 "Pass the Dutchie" (remixes) Maximum Volume...
2004 "Pretty Woman" (with Pato Banton) N/A
2008 "Pass the Dutchie" (re-recording) Christmas EP
2009 "Mary's Boy Child/Oh My Lord"
2013 "The Harder They Come" When Reggae Was King
2016 "Pass the Dutchie" (Odjbox Remix) N/A
2019 "Pass the Dutchie" (Star Slinger Remix)
2020 "Sharing the Night Together" When Reggae Was King
"Pass the Dutchie 21"


  1. ^ a b c ""This Generation Rules the nation with version"". Archived from the original on 28 January 2012. Retrieved 19 February 2022.
  2. ^ Andy Coleman (27 April 2012). "Musical Youth set for new album and tour". Archived from the original on 7 May 2012. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Biography [Musical Youth]". Archived from the original on 31 October 2002. Retrieved 9 April 2004.
  4. ^ "New On The Charts". Billboard. Vol. 94, no. 50. 18 December 1982. p. 12. Retrieved 15 February 2022 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ Eric Olsen (21 March 2003). ""Pass the royalties on the left-hand side ..."". Retrieved 27 February 2022.
  6. ^ a b Roberts, David (2008). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 384. ISBN 978-1-904994-10-7.
  7. ^ Craig Harris. "Musical Youth - Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 14 March 2012.
  8. ^ "Musical Youth - Interview @ Designer Magazine". 2003. Retrieved 14 March 2012.
  9. ^ a b George Nott (25 October 2012). "Too much, too young: The tragic tale of Musical Youth". East London and West Essex Guardian Series. Archived from the original on 27 July 2014. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  10. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 539. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  11. ^ "Musical Youth | Artist". Retrieved 15 February 2022.
  12. ^ "Discography - Musical Youth". Archived from the original on 6 February 2012. Retrieved 22 February 2022.
  13. ^ Alexis Petridis (21 March 2003). "Famous for 15 months". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 May 2010.
  14. ^ "'80s - Musical Youth (2010) 'Still the Youth of Today'". 2010. Archived from the original on 8 February 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
  15. ^ "5am Records UK Independant Record Label Team". Archived from the original on 5 April 2001. Retrieved 22 February 2022.
  16. ^ "Biography - Musical Youth". Archived from the original on 6 February 2012. Retrieved 15 February 2022.
  17. ^ "MUSICAL YOUTH". Archived from the original on 24 January 2005. Retrieved 27 February 2022.
  18. ^ "Musical Youth: 'Pass the Dutchie' (1982) | One-Hit Wonders: Where Are They Now". Archived from the original on 12 November 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
  19. ^ "HERE AND NOW". Archived from the original on 25 February 2012. Retrieved 14 March 2012.
  20. ^ "Musical Youth - Download New Tracks!". Archived from the original on 17 May 2007. Retrieved 27 February 2022.
  21. ^ "Musical Youth on Twitter". Twitter. 23 March 2018. Retrieved 27 February 2022.
  22. ^ "Iconic Reggae Pioneers, Musical Youth, Release New Album When Reggae Was King". 30 October 2020. Retrieved 20 April 2021.
  23. ^ "Kelvin Grant | Official Site". Archived from the original on 14 March 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
  24. ^ "BIOGRAPHY – Kelvin Grant". Retrieved 22 February 2022.
  25. ^ Richard Johnson (25 November 2018). "Memories of a Musical Youth: Kelvin Grant ready to get back into reggae". Jamaica Observer. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  26. ^ a b "MUSICAL YOUTH | full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 15 March 2012.
  27. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 212. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  28. ^ Peak albums positions in Canada:
  29. ^ a b "Discographie von Musical Youth" (in German). Retrieved 22 February 2022.
  30. ^ a b "Discografie Musical Youth" (in Dutch). Retrieved 15 March 2012.
  31. ^ a b "Discography Musical Youth". Retrieved 15 March 2012.
  32. ^ Peak albums positions in the United States:
    • The Youth of Today: "Top LPs & Tape". Billboard. Vol. 95, no. 8. 26 February 1983. p. 59. Retrieved 23 February 2022 – via Google Books.
    • Different Style!: "Top LPs & Tape". Billboard. Vol. 96, no. 6. 18 February 1984. p. 61.
  33. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1999). Joel Whitburn's Top R&B Albums 1965–1998. Record Research. p. 145. ISBN 0898201349.
  34. ^ "Awards: Musical Youth - The Youth Of Today". Retrieved 15 March 2012.
  35. ^ a b "Gold/Platinum - Music Canada". Retrieved 19 March 2012.
  36. ^ "Discografie Musical Youth" (in Dutch). Retrieved 1 October 2012.
  37. ^ Peak singles positions in Canada:
  38. ^ "The Irish Charts – All there is to know". Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  39. ^ Peak singles positions in the United States:
    • "Pass the Dutchie": "Hot 100". Billboard. Vol. 95, no. 8. 26 February 1983. p. 56. Retrieved 26 February 2022 – via Google Books.
    • "She's Trouble": "Hot 100". Billboard. Vol. 96, no. 6. 11 February 1984. p. 76.
  40. ^ "Musical Youth". Billboard. Retrieved 20 March 2022.
  41. ^ "Awards: Musical Youth - Pass The Dutchie". Retrieved 26 February 2022.
  42. ^ "InfoDisc : Les Certifications Officielles des 45 T. / Singles / Titres (Depuis 1073)" (in French). Retrieved 26 February 2022.

External links[edit]