Musical Youth is a Grammy Award-nominated British-Jamaican pop/reggae group. Formed in 1979 at Duddeston Manor School in Birmingham, England. They are best remembered for their successful 1982 Grammy-nominated single, “Pass the Dutchie.” Some critics and fans say the group was inspired after New Edition and The Jacksons.
* Michael Grant – born on 6 July 1969, in Birmingham – keyboards, vocals
* Kelvin Grant – born on 9 July 1971, in Birmingham – guitar, vocals
* Dennis Seaton – born on 2 March 1967 – lead vocals, percussion
* Patrick Waite – born on 16 June 1968; died on 18 February 1993 – bass, vocals
* Freddie “Junior” Waite – born on 23 May 1967 – drums, vocals
The group featured two sets of brothers, Kelvin and Michael Grant, plus Junior and Patrick Waite. The latter pair’s father, Frederick Waite, was a former member of Jamaican group The Techniques, and sang lead with Junior at the start of the group’s career in the late 1970s. They received a Grammy Award nomination for Best New Artist on its 25th Anniversary on February 23, 1983.
Although schoolboys, the group managed to secure gigs at certain Birmingham pubs and released a single, “Political” / “Generals”, on local label 021 Records. An appearance on BBC disc jockey John Peel’s evening show brought further attention to the group, and they were signed to MCA Records.
By that time, founding father Frederick Waite had backed down, to be replaced by Dennis Seaton as lead singer. During the winter of 1982, the group issued one of the fastest-selling singles of the year in “Pass the Dutchie”. Based on the Mighty Diamonds “Pass The Kouchie” (a song about cannabis), the title had been subtly altered to feature the patois “dutchie”, referring to a type of pot used for cooking. This idea is reinforced throughout the political and economic overtones throughout the song about extreme poverty and Musical Youth asking the question “How does it feel when ya got no food?” The infectious enthusiasm of the group’s performance captured the public’s imagination, and duly propelled the record to Number 1 in the UK singles chart. It went on to sell over four million copies, and was nominated for a Grammy Award. A US Top 10 placing also followed. The video made them one of the first black artists to be played on MTV.
The catchy follow-up, “Youth Of Today”, reached number 13 in the UK singles chart, and early in 1983, “Never Gonna Give You Up”, climbed to UK Number 6. Minor successes with “Heartbreaker” and “Tell Me Why”, were succeeded by a surprise collaboration with Donna Summer on the UK Top 20 hit “Unconditional Love”.
A revival of Desmond Dekker’s “007” saw them back in the Top 30, but after one final hit with “Sixteen”, they fell from commercial grace, and subsequently split up in 1985 when Seaton left the band. The Grant brothers remained involved in music, while Dennis Seaton released a solo set in 1989, before going on to form his own band, XMY.
Plans to re-form were initially scotched when on February 18, 1993, band member Patrick Waite, who had gone on to a career of juvenile crime, died of natural causes (hereditary heart condition) whilst awaiting a court appearance on drug charges.
In 2001, Musical Youth reformed. They were set to perform at the English ‘Here & Now’ tour, which features performances by many great artists from the 1980s. Due to the 9/11 attacks, the tour was cancelled.
However, by 2003 Musical Youth were back, appearing in a 1980s nostalgia tour. By 2005, now reduced to just a duo of Michael Grant and Dennis Seaton, Musical Youth performed at Wiesen festival in Austria.
* The Youth of Today (1982)
* Different Style (1983)
* Anthology (1994)
* The Best Of Musical Youth …Maximum Volume (1995)
* The Best Of Musical Youth (20th Century Masters-The Millennium Collection (2004)
Special thanks to Keith Law for content.