Celebrating Junior Murvin
PORT ANTONIO, Portland — Singer Mervin 'Junior Murvin' Smith was remembered Sunday as a man who had a passion for music, family and people.
Smith, best known for the 1976 hit song Police and Thieves, died on December 1 in Portland at age 64.
His brother, Michael Lee, said Smith was so committed to family he turned down tours to raise his children.
"He basked in the success of his family and turned down many stage shows because of the level of indiscipline displayed," Lee told the packed Church of Christ in Murvin's native Port Antonio.
He was remembered by his son Kevin as a keen sportsman and competent goalkeeper.
"My dad had a passion for music, family and the community. He loved sports, but music more than anything else," he pointed out. "He did no regular job because of his love for the music."
Musical tributes came from his good friends Bongo Herman and Bunny Nelson on drums. They remembered Smith as humble and one who "always loved good music around him."
According to Herman, "His song Police and Thieves is a fulfillment now." Nelson, who flew in from England, said, "Junior [Murvin] is an inspiration, and he was always cheered on when he hit the stage and performed in England before the elite."
Musician Devon Bradshaw remembered Junior Murvin as a mentor who gave him his first break in the music industry at age 15.
Carlene Davis did a medley that included These are the Days, Days of Elijah and Sooner Will be Done with The Troubles of The World.
Smith's daughter Joanna was overwhelmed by the occasion, breaking down while performing Who Would have Known.
Other tributes came from the Adams Sisters, Gerold Facy, Smith's daughter-in-law Rosemarie Smith, Wayne Rodlyn, and Samie Bucher.
The celebration of Junior Murvin's life actually started Saturday evening as the Piearkya sound system played a number of his songs at a dance in the community of Land Settlement. Musicians from Portland performed alongside Herman and singer Tinga Stewart until early Sunday.
Mervin 'Junior Murvin' Smith will be cremated at a later date.