Bad Boys of Reggae - hits Treasure Coast FL, Oct 6TH, Sunrise Theatre


Badboys_Inner_Circle_reggae.jpgInner Circle is, of course, best known for "Bad Boys," a ubiquitous crossover hit thanks to its use as the theme song for the long-running Fox TV reality series Cops. But the band had a lengthy history prior to its international breakthrough, dating all the way back to the late '60s.

They hit the big time in Jamaica during the '70s as a danceable yet rootsy Rastafarian reggae outfit, fronted by the charismatic singer Jacob Miller. Miller's tragic death in a car accident in 1980 put the group on hiatus for several years, and when they finally regrouped in the mid-'80s, they began to temper their rootsiness with elements of pop, R&B, and dancehall. Originally recorded in 1987, "Bad Boys" became a worldwide smash in the early '90s, and the group soldiered on into the new millennium amid several personnel changes.

Inner Circle was originally formed by brothers Ian (bass) and Roger Lewis (guitar) in 1968. The group's other charter members were guitarist Steven "Cat" Coore, keyboardist Michael "Ibo" Cooper, and multi-instrumentalist Richard Daley. Initially, they made their living playing in hotel lounges.

When the rest of the band split to form Third World in 1973, the Lewis brothers assembled a new lineup that included keyboardists Bernard "Touter" Harvey and Charles Farquharson (the latter of whom didn't stick around for long), and drummer Rasheed McKenzie.

Inner Circle recorded a couple of albums for Trojan over 1974-1975, Rock the Boat and Blame It on the Sun, which relied to some degree on smooth American soul covers. They also had a small hit single with "I See You." Inner Circle's musical outlook changed with the arrival of vocalist Jacob Miller in 1976. Miller, a devout Rastafarian and a successful solo artist in his own right, made the band into a more spiritual, socially conscious outfit, and they quickly signed with Capitol Records.

Over the next few years, Miller penned hits like "Tenement Yard," "Forward Jah Jah Children," "Tired Fe Lick Weed in a Bush," and "All Night Till Daylight" (some of which were credited to Miller, but nonetheless featured the whole band). Capitol issued two LPs, 1976's Reggae Thing and 1977's Ready for the World; sometime during this period, the group also recorded a bit with disco stars KC & the Sunshine Band.

At the peak of their early popularity in Jamaica, Inner Circle performed at the legendary One Love Peace Concert in 1978, along with Bob Marley and many others. Heartland Reggae, the film documentary of the concert, helped introduce them to international audiences, and landed them a new deal with Island Records. Their 1979 label debut, Everything Is Great, was a hit in Europe, and the disco-tinged title track made the U.K. Top 20 and the French Top Ten. Several more singles, including "Stop Breaking My Heart," "Mary, Mary," and "Music Machine," helped consolidate their success.