One of the foremost pioneers of Jamaican music, The Skatalites were together for just over a year, but in that time they invented ska; a bold, boisterous mix of R&B, bebop, big band swing and Latin rhythms, courtesy of trombonist Don Drummond. They backed a who's who of reggae stars, including Jackie Opel, The Maytals and The Wailers; and recorded the biggest selling ska single of all time with this, their glorious take on Dimitri Tiomkin's theme to the 1961 film. Originally credited to the group's tenor saxist, Roland Alphonso in Jamaica in 1965, it gave them their first and only pop hit (number 36) in the UK two years later. By this time they'd already split, but with its rebel rousing horns, exuberant shouting and irresistible dance beat, Guns Of Navarone set alight the Soho clubs and provided a stark contrast to its B-side. Where's Marcus Garvey? was the group's ode to the political leader, featuring the spirited vocals of Rastafarian, Bongo Man Byfield. It all ended badly for Drummond, who committed suicide in 1969 after murdering his girlfriend.
Availability: Guns Of Navarone Trojan CD
37. PHIL PHILLIPS WITH THE TWILIGHTS: Sea Of Love/Juella (1959)
Swirling, mystery-filled and with a touch of the Bayou, as befitting a singer from Lake Charles, Louisiana, this gave the man John Phollip Baptiste one-hit-wonder status but remained ever-memorable, gaining a fresh audience when it lent its title to a 1989 Al Pacino thriller. A cover by The Honeydrippers, a band comprising Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, Jeff Beck and Nile Rodgers also charted in the '80s.
Availability: Various Sea Of Love Spectrum CD