Pliers causes Bam Bam
COVER Me GoodMonday, October 18, 2021
BY KEDIESHA PERRY
The Jamaica Observer's Entertainment Desk continues its month-long feature titled 'Cover Me Good'. It will look at songs covered by Jamaican artistes which became hits.
PLIERS credits his rendition of Toots And The Maytals' 1966 hit song Bam Bam for catapulting it to global recognition.
“My version was on a different rhythm. [It was a] different style of dancehall. It was great…If I didn't do it, people wouldn't remember it. People like [Sister] Nancy or even Jay-Z wouldn't have been able to eat a food [earn royalties] when they did their covers. I helped to make that song bigger and make it international,” he told the Jamaica Observer.
Pliers (given name Everton Bonner) released his version in 1992. It was co-produced by Sly Dunbar, Lloyd “Gitsy” Willis and Jason Lee.
Bam Bam was the winning entry for the inaugural Jamaica Festival Song Competition in 1966. Toots Hibbert, 77, frontman of Toots And The Maytals, died on September 11, 2020 of complications brought on by COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Sister Nancy's version debuted in 1982 while superstar rapper Jay-Z did his cover in 2017, a collaboration with Damian Marley.
Pliers is half of Chaka Demus and Pliers who are renowned for the hit singles Murder She Wrote, Tease Me, and Twist And Shout.
It was after recording Murder She Wrote that he decided to cover Bam Bam to fulfill a lifelong dream.
“That song came out from I was one or two. We grew up loving music and there was some people who always created music that lasted forever — Toots was one of them. I went to do a song for Sly Dunbar called Murder She Wrote, and as I was stepping through the door and I remembered the song and the rhythm for Murder She Wrote rang a bell. I turned back and told Sly and Gitsy that there was this song I always loved but I didn't know all the lyrics, and they told me to sing what I know and they would fill in the rest of the lyrics,” Pliers recalled.
The song is one of his most successful. He has also seen much success with the cover of Twist and Shout, originally recorded by The Beatles.
“Chaka Demus and Pliers and Jacks Radics did a song and we were the only ones who made number one on the British National Charts as non-whites. We sold two million copies in two weeks, and that's how we made the Guinness Book of World Records,” Pliers added.
He said cover songs by Jamaica's artistes have helped introduce the country's culture to the international market.
“Whole heap a people wouldn't know the songs if we never introduced the reggae or dancehall beat,” Pliers said.
The Rock Hall, St Andrew native, as a solo act, is also known for hit songs including Your Love Is Burning and Barbara. Last year he released the song Real Warrior with his brother Richie Spice.