Oh Carolina

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"Oh Carolina" is a 1958 song by John Folkes released by the Folkes Brothers in 1960 and by Shaggy in 1993.

Folkes Brothers version[edit]

"Oh Carolina"
Single by Folkes Brothers
B-side"I Met a Man"
Recorded1960, RJR Studios, Kingston
LabelBuster Wild Bells
Songwriter(s)John Folkes
Producer(s)Prince Buster

The original version of the song was recorded by Jamaican vocal trio the Folkes Brothers (John, Mico, and Junior Folkes), and was produced by Prince Buster at RJR studios in Kingston.[1] The song was written by John Folkes in 1958 about his girlfriend (who was actually named Noelena).[2] The group had met Buster while auditioning at Duke Reid's liquor store and Buster decided that he wanted to record the song.[3] According to the brothers, Buster paid them £60 for the recording (Buster claims £100).[2]

Buster travelled to the Wareika Hills to find a Niyabinghi group to play on a recording session, and brought Count Ossie and his group of drummers (Count Ossie's Afro-Combo) back to the studio, where they played on "Oh Carolina".[1] "Oh Carolina" was a landmark single in the development of Jamaican modern music (ska, rocksteady and reggae) specially for the incorporation of African-influenced Niyabinghi-style drumming and chanting, and for the exposure it gave to the Rastas, who at the time were marginalised in Jamaican society.[2][4] The track's piano riff was performed by Owen Gray.[3] The single was licensed to Blue Beat Records for release in the UK in 1961.[2]

The two tracks on the single (The B-side was "I Met a Man") were the only songs recorded by The Folkes Brothers as a trio.[3] Mico and Junior Folkes re-recorded the song without John for the 2011 album Don't Leave Me Darling, the first release credited to the Folkes Brothers since the early 1960s.[2] "Oh Carolina" was later reissued on the Prince Buster label. The song was also recorded in 1973 by Count Ossie, on his album Grounation.

Track listing[edit]

Original release

A: "Oh Carolina"
B: "I Met a Man"

Prince Buster label reissue

A: "Oh Carolina"
B: "Chubby" – Prince Buster and the All Stars

Other releases

"Oh Carolina" was also issued as the B-side to Prince Buster's "Madness" on a 1961 single on the Fab label, and was included on a 1978 12-inch single of "Big Five".

Shaggy version[edit]

"Oh Carolina"
Oh Carolina.jpg
Single by Shaggy
from the album Pure Pleasure
B-side"Bow Wow Wow"
ReleasedJanuary 1993
  • Henry Mancini
  • John Folkes
Producer(s)Shaun Pizzonia
Shaggy singles chronology
"Oh Carolina"
"Nice and Lovely"

"Oh Carolina" was recorded by Jamaican musician Shaggy, and released as the lead single from his 1993 debut album Pure Pleasure. Produced by Sting International, it became an international hit. In the United Kingdom, it became the first of Shaggy's four chart-topping singles, spending two weeks at the summit of the UK Singles Chart in March 1993.[5] The song fared less well in the United States, peaking at number 59 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song received major crossover airplay on American alternative rock radio, and as a result the song peaked at number 14 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart.[6] Shaggy's version also appeared on the soundtrack of the 1993 film Sliver.

Track listing[edit]

United Kingdom

  • 7" vinyl / Cassette
  1. "Oh Carolina" (Radio Version) – 3:12
  2. "Oh Carolina" (Raas Bumba Claat Version) – 3:50
  • 12" vinyl
  1. "Oh Carolina" (Radio Version) – 3:12
  2. "Oh Carolina" (Raas Bumba Claat Version) – 3:50
  3. "Rivers of Babylon" (featuring Rayvon) – 4:03
  • CD single
  1. "Oh Carolina" (Radio Version) – 3:12
  2. "Oh Carolina" (Raas Bumba Claat Version) – 3:50
  3. "Oh Carolina" (Uptown 10001 Version) – 3:18
  4. "Bow Wow Wow" – 3:41

United States

  • Single-CD
  1. "Oh Carolina" – 3:53
  2. "Oh Carolina" (12" Flastbush Mix) – 3:06
  • Maxi-CD
  1. "Oh Carolina" (Hip Hop Remix) – 4:29
  2. "Oh Carolina" (Instrumental) – 3:48
  3. "Oh Carolina" (Silver Version) – 3:04
  4. "Oh Carolina" (Gangster Mix) – 4:29
  5. "Oh Carolina" (Bonus Beats) – 2:04
  • 7" vinyl
  1. "Oh Carolina" – 3:53
  2. "Love Me Up" – 3:51
  • 12" vinyl
  1. "Oh Carolina" (Radio Version) – 3:12
  2. "Oh Carolina" (Raas Bumba Claat Version) – 3:50
  3. "Oh Carolina" (12" Flastbush Mix) – 3:06
  4. "Love Me Up" (Dancehall Mix) – 3:51
  5. "Love Me Up" (Hip Hop Mix) – 3:51
  6. "Love Me Up" ("Up" Version) – 3:59

Charts and sales[edit]

Dispute over authorship[edit]

Following the success of Shaggy's version, John Folkes was involved in a legal dispute with Prince Buster over the authorship. As was common with Jamaican releases of the era, the song was credited on the label to the producer, in this case "C. Campbell" aka Prince Buster, and Buster claimed that he had written the song about a former girlfriend.[2] Folkes' claim was upheld in the UK High Court in 1994.[2]

Other cover versions[edit]

In 1993, Vic Sotto, Francis Magalona, Richie D'Horsie and Michael V. covered a tagalog parody version of the same song from the movie Ano Ba Yan? 2.[22]

Jamaican artist Yellowman created a popular cover version on his 1994 album Prayer

In February 1995, South Korean pop-group Roo'ra released a Korean version, with the title "날개 잃은 천사" ("Nalgae irun chunsa"; "Angels that lost their wings").[23]


  1. ^ a b Thompson, Dave (2002) Reggae & Caribbean Music, Backbeat Books, ISBN 0-87930-655-6, p. 197, 328
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Alleyne, Mike (2012) The Encyclopedia of Reggae, Sterling, ISBN 978-1-4027-8583-2, p. 84
  3. ^ a b c Barrow, Steve & Dalton, Peter (2004) The Rough Guide to Reggae, Rough Guides, ISBN 1-84353-329-4, p. 23
  4. ^ Jason Toynbee, Bob Marley, Polity Press, 2007, pp. 121-22.
  5. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 491. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  6. ^ a b c Billboard Allmusic.com (Retrieved September 3, 2008)
  7. ^ a b c d e f g "Oh Carolina", in various singles charts Lescharts.com (Retrieved April 3, 2008)
  8. ^ [1] Archived February 22, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 2014-03-31.
  10. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 2014-03-31.
  11. ^ "Top 10 Denmark" (PDF). Music & Media. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  12. ^ "Shaggy singles, German Singles Chart". Musicline.de (in German). Retrieved 17 April 2010.
  13. ^ Irish Single Chart Irishcharts.ie Archived July 21, 2011, at the Wayback Machine (Retrieved April 3, 2008)
  14. ^ a b "Single top 100 over 1993" (PDF). Top40.nl (in Dutch). Retrieved 15 April 2010.
  15. ^ UK Singles Chart Chartstats.com (Retrieved April 3, 2008)
  16. ^ 1993 Australian Singles Chart aria.com Archived March 30, 2010, at the Wayback Machine (Retrieved September 3, 2008)
  17. ^ 1993 Austrian Singles Chart Austriancharts.at Archived September 24, 2010, at the Wayback Machine (Retrieved September 3, 2008)
  18. ^ "End of Year Charts 1993". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  19. ^ 1993 Swiss Singles Chart Hitparade.ch Archived November 5, 2013, at the Wayback Machine (Retrieved September 3, 2008)
  20. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank ('Oh+Carolina')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved September 3, 2008.
  21. ^ "UK certifications, database". Bpi.co.uk. Archived from the original on January 17, 2010. Retrieved 3 September 2008.
  22. ^ "CAROLINA - Vic Sotto, Richie D' Horsie, Francis M. & Michael V." YouTube. Retrieved 9 January 2019.
  23. ^ 룰라 ("Roo'ra") (in Korean)