Ska and Rocksteady legend Prince Buster is dead

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prince-buster.jpgLegendary Jamaican ska singer, songwriter, record producer and sound system operator Prince Buster is dead.

The singer died of health complications at approximately 7:20 a.m. today in Miami, Florida. He was 78 years old.

Born Cecil Campbell on May 24, 1938, Prince Buster died leaving his widow, Mola Ali, sister and children.

Regarded as Jamaica's first international musical legend, Busta hailed from Kingston, having been born on Orange Street - now known as the heart and soul of Jamaican ska, rocksteady and reggae.

The records that Prince Buster released in the 1960s - such as I Feel the Spirit and Fly Flying Ska - set a blueprint for ska and rocksteady anthems to come and had a profound influence on the UK music scene of the 1970s / 80s - primarily Coventry's 2-Tone ska label, home of The Specials and The Selecter. Madness originally covered Buster's 1963's B-side Madness on the 2-Tone label and recorded a tribute to Campbell called The Prince in 1979.

The 1960s were prolific for Campbell not only for the songs released but also for his production work on Oh Carolina by the Folkes Brother in 1960. The year 1964 saw a heavyweight meeting between Campbell and boxer Muhammad Ali, who invited him to attend a Nation of Islam talk in Miami, and in 1967 The Prince had a huge top 40 hit in the UK with the single Al Capone. Campbell returned to the UK charts in 1998 with his song Whine and Grine, which was used in a Levi's advert.