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Max Romeo

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Max Romeo (born Maxwell Livingston Smith, 22 November 1947, St. D’Acre, St. Ann, Jamaica), is a reggae and roots reggae recording artist who has achieved chart success in his home country, and in the UK. The singer who put the rude in rude boy, Max Romeo was responsible for launching an entirely new sub-genre of reggae, whose overtly suggestive lyrics caused an outcry but took a massive hold of the music scene regardless. Yet innuendo was the least of the singer’s stylings, previous to the release of his infamous “Wet Dream,” Romeo had garnered a string of sweet hits with the vocal trio the Emotions. And once the nocturnal naughtiness faded, the singer established himself as one of the most important figures in the roots scene.
He left home at the age of 14 and worked on a sugar plantation outside Clarendon, cleaning out irrigation ditches, before winning a local talent competition when he was 18; prompting a move to the capital, Kingston, in order to achieve a successful musical career.

In 1965 he joined up with Kenneth Knight and Lloyd Shakespeare in The Emotions, whilst also working as a record plugger for Ken Lack’s Caltone label. The group were unsuccessful in auditions for other producers, but Lack offered them an audition after overhearing Smith singing to himself as he worked one day. In 1966, the group had their first hit, with the Lack-produced, “Buy You a Rainbow”. The Emotions went on to have several hit singles and by 1968, the singer, by this point known as Max Romeo, felt confident enough to launch a solo career.

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