Musical Youth

Musical Youth are a British-Jamaican reggae band formed in 1979 in Birmingham, England. They are best remembered for their successful 1982 single "Pass the Dutchie", which became a No. 1 hit around the world. The band recorded two studio albums, and released a number of successful singles throughout 1982 and 1983, including a collaboration with Donna Summer in "Unconditional Love". Musical Youth earned a Grammy Award nomination before disbanding in 1985 after a series of personal problems. The band returned in 2001 as a duo.

Musical Youth
Musical Youth on the cover of their debut LP
Musical Youth on the cover of their debut LP
Background information
OriginBirmingham, England
Years active1979–1985, 2001–present
Associated actsDonna Summer
MembersDennis Seaton
Michael Grant
Past membersKelvin Grant
Freddie "Junior" Waite
Patrick Waite


The group was formed in 1979 when the fathers of Kelvin and Michael Grant and Frederick (known as Junior) and Patrick Waite put together a band featuring their sons. The latter pair's father, Frederick Waite Sr., had been a member of the Jamaican reggae group The Techniques. Frederick sang lead with Junior at the start of Musical Youth's career. Although schoolboys, the group managed to secure gigs at different Birmingham pubs and released a double single in 1981, including songs "Generals" and "Political", on a local label, (021 Records, named after the then-Birmingham area code.) An appearance on BBC Radio 1 John Peel's evening show brought further attention to the group, and they were signed to MCA Records. By that time, founding member Frederick Waite Jr. had backed down to be replaced by Dennis Seaton as lead singer.

In September 1982, the group issued one of the fastest-selling singles of the year, "Pass the Dutchie" (based on the Mighty Diamonds' "Pass the Kouchie"; a song about passing a pipe used to smoke cannabis). The title had been subtly altered to feature the patois "dutchie", referring to a type of pot used for cooking. This idea was reinforced throughout the political and economic overtones of the song about extreme poverty and Musical Youth asking the question "How does it feel when ya got no food?". The record went to number one in the UK Singles Chart in October 1982.[1] It went on to sell over four million copies,[2] and was nominated for a Grammy Award. A Top 10 placing also followed on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States.

Their debut album The Youth of Today was certified gold in the UK, while the follow-up single, "Youth of Today", reached number 13 in the UK Singles Chart and "Never Gonna Give You Up", released early in 1983, climbed to UK number 6.[1] Minor successes with "Heartbreaker" and "Tell Me Why" were succeeded by a collaboration with Donna Summer on the UK Top 20 hit, "Unconditional Love".[3] The group also took part in her 1983 TV special A Hot Summer Night with Donna.[4] Their second album, Different Style!, was released in 1983 and showcased more R&B-influenced repertoire to make the band more accessible in the North America, but flopped on both British and American market. A revival of Desmond Dekker's "007" saw them back in the Top 30, but after one final hit with "Sixteen", their commercial success ended. The band received a Grammy Award nomination for Best New Artist at the Grammy Awards of 1984.

With their careers going downhill, the band members became embroiled in legal, financial and personal problems.[5][6] In 1985, Dennis Seaton left the band, leading to its dissolution. The Grant brothers remained involved in the music industry; Seaton released a solo album in 1989 before going on to form his own band, XMY. Plans for a reunion of Musical Youth were halted when Patrick Waite, who had gone on to a career of juvenile crime, died in Birmingham in February 1993.[7] Only 24 years old, he collapsed from a hereditary heart condition. A compilation album, Anthology, was released in 1994, followed by Maximum Volume: The Best of Musical Youth in 1995.

Dennis Seaton performing in Austria in 2005

Now reduced to a duo, Michael Grant and Dennis Seaton reformed Musical Youth in 2001, and planned a tour, which was cancelled due to the September 11 attacks.[8] In 2003, Musical Youth finally performed as part of the Here and Now tour, an annual series of nostalgia concerts featuring performances by musicians of the 1980s.[9][10] A compilation album was released in 2004, 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection. In 2005, the band performed at the Wiesen festival in Austria. In 2009, they released a cover of Boney M.'s "Mary's Boy Child – Oh My Lord", followed by Jimmy Cliff's "The Harder They Come" in 2013. Their album When Reggae Was King was scheduled for release in 2016, then early 2017, and was eventually released in 2020.[11][12] They performed tracks from it at Camper Calling Festival at Ragley Hall on 27 August 2017.

In 2018, Kelvin Grant recorded and released a solo album, Defend Dem, in the United States.[13] In 2019 Dennis Seaton performed at Hale Barns carnival in Cheshire.


Musical Youth were influenced by reggae artists such as Sugar Minott, Aswad, Gregory Isaacs, Dennis Brown, John Holt and Beshara.[14]

Band MembersEdit

  • Dennis Seaton (born 2 March 1967) - lead vocals and percussion, 1979–1985, 2001–present.
  • Freddie "Junior" Waite (born 23 May 1967) - drums and vocals, 1979–1985.
  • Kelvin Grant (born 9 July 1971) - Guitar and vocals, 1979–1985.
  • Michael Grant (born 7 January 1969) - keyboards and vocals, 1979–1985, 2001–present.
  • Patrick Waite (born 16 May 1968 – 18 February 1993) - bass, 1979–1985.


Studio albumsEdit

Year Title Peak chart positions Certifications

1982 The Youth of Today 24 80 8 13 23 23 42 23
1983 Different Style! 90 144


  • 1987: Pass the Dutchie[25]
  • 1994: Anthology
  • 1995: Maximum Volume: The Best of Musical Youth
  • 2004: 20th Century Masters – The Millennium Collection: The Best of Musical Youth


Year Title Peak chart positions Album
1981 "Generals"/"Political" N/A
1982 "Pass the Dutchie" 1 1 1 1 2 2 1 1 1 1 10 The Youth of Today
"Youth of Today" 13 99 7 29 9 4 19
1983 "Never Gonna Give You Up" 6 28 82 5
"Heartbreaker" 44
"Tell Me Why?" 33 35 20 31 Different Style!
"007" 26 27
"She's Trouble" 87 43 65
1984 "Sixteen" 23 27
"Whatcha Talking 'Bout"
"Let's Go to the Moon" N/A
2009 "Mary's Boy Child/Oh My Lord"
2013 "The Harder They Come"


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  2. ^ Craig Harris. "Musical Youth - Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 14 March 2012.
  3. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 539. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  4. ^ "Donna Summer: A Hot Summer Night (1983) (TV) - Full cast and crew". IMDb. Retrieved 14 March 2012.
  5. ^ Alexis Petridis (21 March 2003). "Famous for 15 months". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 May 2010.
  6. ^ "Anne Carlini – Exclusive Magazine". Retrieved 19 March 2012.
  7. ^ George Nott (25 October 2012). "Too much, too young: The tragic tale of Musical Youth". East London and West Essex Guardian Series. Archived from the original on 27 July 2014. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  8. ^ "Musical Youth One-Hit Wonders: Where Are They Now". Archived from the original on 12 November 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
  9. ^ "HERE AND NOW". Archived from the original on 25 February 2012. Retrieved 14 March 2012.
  10. ^ "HERE AND NOW TOUR". Retrieved 14 March 2012.
  11. ^ "Tweets by Musical Youth (@MusicalYouth30) – Twitter". New album 'When Reggae Was King' out early 2017[non-primary source needed]
  12. ^ "Iconic Reggae Pioneers, Musical Youth, Release New Album When Reggae Was King". EIN Presswire. Retrieved 20 April 2021.
  13. ^ Johnson, Richard (2018) "Memories of a Musical Youth: Kelvin Grant ready to get back into reggae", Jamaica Observer, 25 November 2018. Retrieved 29 November 2018
  14. ^ Andy Coleman. "Musical Youth set for new album and tour". Archived from the original on 7 May 2012. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
  15. ^ a b "The Official Charts Company – Musical Youth". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 15 March 2012.
  16. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 212. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
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  28. ^ "Tout les Titres par Artiste". (in French). Archived from the original on 27 January 2012. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  29. ^ "Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts, News, Neuerscheinungen, Tickets, Genres, Genresuche, Genrelexikon, Künstler-Suche, Musik-Suche, Track-Suche, Ticket-Suche". (in German). Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  30. ^ "The Irish Charts – All there is to know". Retrieved 17 March 2012.
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  32. ^ "Musical Youth". AllMusic. Retrieved 17 March 2012.

External linksEdit