Before singer-songwriter Bob Marley brought reggae to the world, Desmond Dekker was becoming a household name in his native Jamaica with his backing band the Aces. He had 20 number one hits, with spiritually-intentioned ska and reggae-styled tunes. His biggest hit “The Israelites” made a global impression when featured in the 1989 Gus Van Sant film Drugstore Cowboy, and even among the Fab Four (hear a shout out in “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”).
“I Believe” has always been a favorite of mine for its catchy, repetitive verses, and its clever nod to a circular kind of relativism (the very real possibility that it “all depends on what you believe”). But, most importantly, that amazing rocksteady beat.
Photo of Dekker album in a London record store by Carl De Souza/AFP/Getty Images