Steel Pulse are a roots reggae musical band, from the Handsworth area of Birmingham, England. They originally formed at Handsworth Wood Boys School, and are composed of David Hinds (lead vocals, guitar), Basil Gabbidon (lead guitar, vocals), and Ronald McQueen (bass). They were the first non-Jamaican act to win the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album. After the band formed in 1975, their debut release, Kibudu, Mansetta And Abuku, arrived on the small independent label Dip, and linked the plight of urban black youth with the image of a greater African homeland. They followed it with Nyah Luv for Anchor. They were initially refused live dates in Caribbean venues in Birmingham due to their Rastafarian beliefs. Aligning themselves closely with the Rock Against Racism organisation and featuring in its first music festival in early 1978, they chose to tour with sympathetic elements of the punk movement, including the Stranglers, XTC and so on.... (Read more)

Links to Peel

Peel mentioned on his 29 September 1977 show visiting Virgin Records in Marble Arch, where he met a girl behind the counter called Fanny, who gave him a cassette from the group, which Peel played and was impressed, leading to him to invite the group to do a session for his show. The band probably was the first reggae group to record a second session for Kat's Karavan. They went on to record five, four of which John repeated at Christmas but none of which have seen a complete official release.

The release of Handsworth Revolution in summer 1978 was greeted by JP with advance play of four tracks in one show and complaints about the length of time he had waited to hear it.

Another JP favourite, John Cooper Clarke, said, "I knew Steel Pulse really well – those dudes were terrific, fabulous men. Handsforth (sic) Revolution was a big album. Rotten [Johnny] was a massive fan and he used to always wear their promo badges for photo shoots." [1]

Festive Fifty Entries

  • None


1. Recorded: 1977-08-31. First broadcast: 29 September 1977. Repeated: 25 October 1977, 22 November 1977, 28 December 1977, 22 June 1977.

  • Prodigal Son / Ku Klux Klan / Bad Man / Prediction

2. Recorded: 1978-04-04. First broadcast: 27 April 1978. Repeated: 18 May 1978, 07 June 1978, 27 December 1978, 24 May 1983

  • Handsworth Revolution / Jah Pickney (Rock Against Racism) / Makka Splaff

3. Recorded: 1979-07-16. First broadcast: 13 August 1979. Repeated: 27 August 1979, 24 December 1979

  • Unseen Guest / Uncle George / Reggae Fever

4. Recorded: 1980-04-09. First broadcast: 07 May 1980. Repeated: 20 May 1980, 16 June 1980, 23 December 1980

  • Drug Squad / Shinin' / Nyahbingi

5. Recorded: 1981-12-05. First broadcast: 06 January 1982. Repeated 27 January 1982, 17 February 1982, 10 May 1982

  • Ravers / Man No Sober / Blues Dance

Other Shows Played

STEEL PULSE John Peel 4th April 1978

STEEL PULSE John Peel 4th April 1978

  • 28 May 1985: 'Prodigal Son (Compilation LP-Reggae Greats)' (Island)

External Links

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