Uptown Top Ranking

Album: Absolute Reggae (1977)
Charted: 1

Songfacts®:

  • The title "Uptown Top Ranking" describes what a country Jamaican does when he goes to the city to show off.
  • The producer Joe Gibbs came across a song by reggae star Trinity called "Three Piece Suit" and he decided to record a female response as a companion. His engineer Errol Thompson came up with the backing track and the Jamaican female duo 17-year-old Althia Forest and 18 year-old Donna Reid supplied various local slang words for the lyrics. Mikey Dread featured the record on his program Dread At The Controls, and it was a hit in Jamaica. John Peel started to promote it on his BBC Radio 1 evening show and then the daytime Radio 1 DJs started to play it.
  • The song became a national talking point in Britain because no one understood the lyrics. Even though it was in English, the Jamaican patois was as strange as a foreign language to many listeners.
  • Both Althia and Donna were unable to find a successful follow-up and they became one-hit wonders.
  • This was sampled by ABS on their UK #4 hit "What You Got" in 2002.

Comments: 1

  • David from Nottingham, United KingdomI remember them singing this with live vocals on Top of the Pops- it was so bad it was embarrasing!
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