Greensleeves Records

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If the real history of popular music has been written by independent labels then Greensleeves has been responsible for one of the most significant chapters in the international rise of Jamaican music.

Greensleeves led the way in establishing dancehall and all the post-roots reggae styles from the late-Seventies onwards - an absolutely crucial contribution made even more remarkable by the fact that, even after 30 years, Greensleeves still remains at the cutting edge.

All this has its origins in a small record shop opened in London’s West Ealing at the end of 1975. Chris Sedgwick and Chris Cracknell, who ran the store, had ambitions to launch a regular chain of shops, each stocking the kind of tunes that specifically appealed to the diverse communities in each area of London. In West Ealing that meant Irish and Jamaican records.

As the business grew, so the Greensleeves shop stocked more and more Jamaican imports, many of them rarities that only ever surfaced once. It became obvious, however, that some of these records had hit potential if only they were made more widely available. Recognising an opportunity, Sedgwick and Cracknell decided to licence the hottest titles and release them on Greensleeves’ own record label, launched from new premises in London’s Shepherds Bush in 1977.

It was an incredibly fertile time to launch the fledging Greensleeves Records and, indeed, the label’s first two seven-inch singles, Reggae Regulars’ ‘Where is Jah’ and Dr.

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