Nancy's silver lining

Bam Bam, a song recorded by veteran dancehall deejay Sister Nancy in 1982, is certified silver in the United Kingdom for sales exceeding 200,000 in streaming and digital.

The British Phonographic Industry issued the certification last Friday.

Sister Nancy said she was grateful and appreciative of the song's success.

“Well, I'm grateful and appreciative and say, 'congratulations, Bam Bam.' Keep climbing to new heights,” she told the Jamaica Observer.

Bam Bam was a last-minute addition to Sister Nancy's 1982 album One, Two-which was recorded at the famed Channel One studio in Kingston. It was produced by Winston Riley and released on his Techniques label.

Sister Nancy recalled the recording session.

“I recorded all the tracks from the One, Two album at Channel One. The vibes were real, you know. In those days the musicians from the band were all there playing, so the vibes were solid,” she shared.

Errol “Flabba” Holt, Robbie Shakespeare, Carlton “Santa” Davis, Sly Dunbar, Lincoln “Style” Scott, Ansel Collins, Wycliffe “Steelie” Johnson, Winston Wright, Marvin Brooks, Christopher “Sky Juice” Blake, Dean Fraser, and Ronald “Nambo” Robinson are among the musicians who worked on the One, Two album.

Sister Nancy's Bam Bam samples lyrics of Toots and the Maytals' winning 1966 Festival Song of the same name.

Her version is, however, heard in the opening scenes of Hype Williams' 1998 street-tough opus Belly.

Five years ago, American rapper Jay-Z sampled the song in his recording Bam, which was included on his 2017 album 4:44. The song charted at number 93 in the United Kingdom, and numbers 47 and 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts, respectively.

Sister Nancy said she had no inclination that Bam Bam would have become a hit.

“No, I did not know, but it did and I'm thankful,” she said.

Asked what was it about Bam Bam that made it connect with music lovers, she said: “I think it's the voice and the riddim pitch.”

Sister Nancy, whose real name is Ophlin Russell, grew up in St Andrew before migrating to the United States in the mid-1990s. Among her other hits are Transport Connection and One, Two.

In 2016, Billboard magazine called the song “a strong contender for the title of most sampled reggae song of all time”.

Rolling Stone magazine ranked Bam Bam at number 454 on its 2021 edition of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time”.

BY KEVIN JACKSON Observer writer

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