Al Capone (song)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

"Al Capone" is a song and single by Jamaican singer-songwriter Prince Buster. It was first released in 1964.


At the time it was written many Jamaicans had a fascination with films from Hollywood, particularly gangster and Western films. Al Capone, the American gangster from the 1920s and 1930s, held a particular interest for Jamaican listeners. Primarily an instrumental, the song starts with the sound of a car crash, gun fire and squealing tyres. Buster's backing group, the All Stars, provide jazzy horns while piano playing keeps the rhythm. The recording session included Dennis Campbell and Val Bennett on tenor saxophones, Raymond Harper and Baba Brooks on trumpets, Junior Nelson on trombone, Ernest Ranglin on guitar and bass, Jah Jerry Haynes on guitar, Gladstone Anderson on piano and Drumbago (Arkland "Drumbago" Parks) on drums. The few lyrics are provided by Buster in an MC style.

AllMusic credits the song with giving a sense of attitude to the 2 Tone movement and as such, it was sampled by the Specials in their 1979 song "Gangsters". The B side was "One Step Beyond", also released on the 2 Tone label in 1979, by Madness. "Al Capone", when heard by a 15-year-old Suggs, had provided him with inspiration which later went towards the formation of Madness of which he was lead singer.

Chart success

It was not until 1967 that the song became a hit for Prince Buster, making number 18 in the UK charts and staying for 13 weeks.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Al Capone (song)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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