The Heptones  

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

The Heptones were a Jamaican rocksteady and reggae vocal trio most active in the 1960s and early 1970s.



Leroy Sibbles, Earl Morgan and Barry Llewelyn first came together as "The Hep Ones" in 1965 in Kingston but they soon changed their name to "The Heptones".

They recorded for the major Jamaican record producers at the time, beginning their career , after one unsuccessful single for Ken Lack's "K Calnek" label, under the watchful eye of Coxsone Dodd of Studio One. The Heptones had a number of Jamaican hits for Studio One, beginning with "Fattie Fattie", their first Studio One single in 1966. This began a long run of success for Coxsone, including "Pretty Looks Isn't All", "Get In The Groove", "Be a Man", "Sea of Love" (a cover of the Pat Phillips and the Twilights doo-wop classic), "Ting a Ling", "Party Time" and "I Hold the Handle." They were the chief rivals to The Techniques, who recorded for Arthur "Duke" Reid, as the top vocal act of the rocksteady era.

During their five years at Brentford Road, Leroy Sibbles also played bass on numerous sessions, auditioned acts, and along with Jackie Mittoo was the chief studio arranger. Amongst the rhythms featuring his bass playing are Alton Ellis's "I'm Still In Love" and the Abyssinians " Satta-a-Massagana". They remained at Studio One well into the reggae era, where they cut tunes such as "Message from a Black Man", "Love Won't Come Easy", "I Love You" and a very successful cover of "Suspicious Minds", then went on to record with Joe Gibbs, Harry J, for whom they cut the classics "Country Boy" and "Book of Rules" (itself based on an American poem called "A Bag of Tools" by R.L.Sharpe, written early in the 20th Century) in 1973, Rupie Edwards (re-recording "Give Me the Right") and former journalist Danny Holloway. Leroy sibbles emigrated to Canada in 1973, and the group ceased recording, returning in 1976 with "Cool Rasta" and "Night Food", produced by Scott "Harry J" Johnston. These LPs featured a few new songs, interspersed with somewhat tame remakes of some of their past Studio One glories.

In 1977, they revived their career by returning to work with Lee "Scratch" Perry, having issued a number of singles (including a cover of Billy Stewart's "I Do Love You" on his Justice League imprint five years previously, and released the album, Party Time one of Perry's finest productions, which included a remakes of some tunes originally cut at Studio One, including Bob Dylan's "I Shall Be Released", along with newer compositions such as "Sufferers' Time". In the same era, they released a number of 12" singles with Lee Perry, such as "Mistry Babylon", "Mr President" (featuring DJ Jah Lloyd) and "Babylon's Falling".

Sibbles left the group once more in 1977 to start a successful solo career, having already cut a solo version of "Love Won't Come Easy" for Augustus Pablo, and having cut his own solo singles for Lee Perry ("Rasta Fari" and "Garden of Life") and Dennis Brown's DEB Music ("New Song" and "Ain't No Love"). He was replaced by Dolphin "Naggo" Morris, who had recorded "Su Su Pon Rasta" for Joe Gibbs and "You Should Love Your Brother" for King Jammys, but the group's popularity waned. By the late 1970s, their slick stage suits and covers of pop tunes found little favour with audiences more used to more "militant" dreadlocked performers singing of Rastafari, and they began to be perceived as relics of an older era. Despite being produced by Joseph Hoo Kim at Channel One, "Good Life" in 1979 saw the group treading water, and the years that followed brought little success. The original trio reunited in 1995, and released Pressure!, produced by Tappa Zukie


Selected Singles

    • Fattie Fattie (1966)
    • I've Got a Feeling (1966)
    • Get In the Groove (1967)
    • Equal Rights (1968)
    • Ain't Nobody Else (1968)
    • Book of Rules" (1973)
    • Party Time" (1966 - Studio One 1977 - Lee Perry)
    • Pretty Looks" (1969)
    • Our Day Will Come (1972)
    • Mistry Babylon (1977)
    • Sufferers' Time (1978)


  • The Heptones (aka Fattie Fattie) (1967)
  • On Top (1968)
  • Black is Black (aka Ting a Ling) (1970)
  • Freedom Line (1971)
  • Book of Rules (1973)
  • The Original Heptones (1976)
  • Cool Rasta (1976)
  • Night Food (1976)
  • Party Time (1977)
  • Better Days (1978)
  • Good Life (1979)
  • Mr. Skabeana (with Alton Ellis) (1980)
  • Swing Low (1985)
  • Changing Times (1986)
  • Pressure! (1995)
  • Deep in the Roots (2004)

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Heptones" 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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