The following Pato Banton story charts his rise from the most disadvantaged of circumstances in his youth, through a long and successful career as a world renowned reggae legend, back to his roots with a commitment to work for the benefit of young people in his community, and finally on a mission to spread the Good News & Positive Vibrations to the Now Generation.
In The Beginning
Patrick Murray was born in London in 1961, and moved to Birmingham when he was 8 years old. Pato's stepfather (Lester Daley) was a DJ fresh from Jamaica and the house in which they lived became the weekend night spot for the local community. Pato was the lookout for these illegal parties, working on the door from the age of 9. In his early teens Pato started to gain his musical foundation on his stepfathers sound system called V-Rocket, from helping set up the equipment at first to later selecting the music and trying his skills on the microphone. Patrick would stay up all night entertaining the masses and was given the name Patoo by his stepfather. (The name derives from a wise night owl in Jamaica, that stays up all night, calling patoo, patoo.)
By the age of 16, Ranking Pato became well known around Birmingham and would get regular work from various leading sound systems across the city. Within a short space of time, Pato became the number 1 MC in Birmingham, winning the title seven years in a row. At the age of 19 while working for Sufferer Sound System, Pato was invited to join a local roots reggae band called Crucial Music. Within a year Pato became the band leader, mc, singer/songwriter and manager, taking the band on tours of the UK and Europe. Pato's first recording was a double A sided single with Crucial Music entitled All Night Raving & Sensimilla. After five years, Pato's notoriety as a British MC outgrew the popularity of the band, and he was forced to move on..
The Early 1980's
During the early part of his career, Pato participated in a talent show where he was proclaimed the winner by judges Ranking Roger and Dave Wakeling of The English Beat. This culminated in the single, Pato & Roger A Go talk, which appears on the Beats gold selling album, Special Beat Service. Shortly thereafter Pato performed the hit songs, Hip-Hop Lyrical Robot and King Step on UB40's Baggariddim and Little Baggariddim albums, which also featured the chart topping, I Got You Babe with guest artiste Chrissie Hines.
Pato's first audition at Fashion Records impressed the producers so much that they instantly changed his name to Pato Banton. (In DJ circles a Banton is a heavyweight lyricist, thus in England, Pato became The Banton) His second single, Allo Tosh Got a Toshiba (recorded for Don Christie on Jamdon Records) reached number 3 in the independent reggae charts and launched a string of successful projects with Fashion Records, Greensleeves & Island Records. During this time Pato teamed up with top London MC Tippa Irie and under the guidance & management of GT Haynes they traveled around the world and recorded songs like, Double Trouble, Dance Pon De Spot and Dem No Know Bout Pressure.
The Mid 1980's
Looking for an avenue to express his conscious lyrics, Pato approached Neil Frasier at Ariwa Records and recorded his first album, Mad Professor Captures Pato Banton which is still regarded as an all time reggae classic!
Hungry for the feel of performing live, Pato joined up with a band of Birminghams top local musicians called the Studio 2 Crew. After a year of rehearsals and shows around the UK and Europe, Pato went on to record his second album Never Give In!
It was at this time that Roberto Angotti, (a popular Radio DJ and pioneer of British Reggae, who hosted a show called The Reggae Revolution on LA's top alternative rock station KROQ) was invited to the UK by UB40 to document the making of their Geoffrey Morgan album.
Roberto was directed to check out a local club and spotted the talented Banton mashing down the house! After reporting his experience back to the band, UB40 keyboardist Mickey Virtue, gave Roberto a copy of Pato's hit single The Boss and a contact to Pato's Manager, GT Haynes.
This led to Roberto inviting Pato to the USA to work with local musicians on the live circuit and to record a song with the San Diego based rock band, Private Domain. While at KROQ, Pato wrote and recorded his parts to the track entitled Absolute Perfection and the song became an instant radio hit and reached No.1 in the music charts of Peru.
With his popularity growing rapidly, Pato renamed his band The Reggae Revolution and began touring extensively. The buzz about Pato Banton's live shows sparked the interest of IRS Records. A contract was signed and Never Give In! was released in America and then globally. Such classic songs as Don't Sniff Coke Handsworth Riot Gwarn and Settle Satan established this recording to what many consider to be a timeless reggae masterpiece.
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