The Harder They Come soundtrack
CF: That was our intro to reggae music. Before we'd heard Jonny Nash’s ‘I Can See Clearly Now’, but we hadn’t really heard down and funky reggae music like Toots and everybody else on that record. There was a movie that went with it, which was fascinating. And later on we got to meet some of these people when we played a show with Toots and the Maytals on December 7 for Toots’s 70th birthday. Tom Tom Club had the honour of being the opening act. We have a lot of fondness for reggae music and not just Bob Marley.
TW: Every one of those songs has deep meaning. It was a revelation to us. I just loved the slight off-key singing sometimes on the background singing. At the same time it was so deep and soulful and expressed so much in such a more interesting way to me than the blues did anymore. The blues was as American as watercolour painting, it was part of us. But this reggae was all new. This was a mystery! How did they put this together?
Much later, when we were putting together our first Tom Tom Club record, we were talking to Steven Stanley, our engineer. He said that his theory was that we were listening to jazz coming over the airwaves, that reggae is these two bars of jazz repeated. I’m not sure if it’s correct but I loved that he saw it that way. Chris Blackwell, the founder of Island Records, brought reggae to the world and his first love of music is also jazz. So it all makes sense when you look at it from that perspective.