Junior 'Police and Thieves' Murvin dies at 67

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Singer Junior Murvin, whose breakout hit 'Police and Thieves', entered the British national chart in 1976, died Monday at the Port Antonio Hospital in Portland. He was 67 years old.

His son, Kevin Smith, told OBSERVER ONLINE that his father was admitted to hospital last Thursday to seek treatment for diabetes and hypertension. 

There will be a post mortem to determine the cause of death, Smith said.

Murvin was born Murvin Smith in Port Antonio. He started his career there in the mid-1960s as a singer on the hotel scene before heading to Kingston where he recorded for producers including Derrick Harriott and Sonia Pottinger.

His big break came in the 1970s with 'Police and Thieves', produced by Lee 'Scratch' Perry at Perry's Black Ark studio in Washington Gardens, St Andrew. 

The song was a hit in Jamaica, but took off in Britain where it found an audience with the punk movement.

'Police and Thieves' entered the British national chart in 1976. 

The following year Island Records released an album of the same name.

The song was one of the themes of the 1977 NottingHill Carnival in England. It was so popular that police in the country banned it from radio, claiming it incited violence among rebellious youth.

'Police and Thieves' was covered by punk group The Clash in 1978. Boy George also covered the song in 1998.


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