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The Melodians are one of the originals of reggae


When Tony Brevett, lead singer of The Melodians, was 13, he rode on the handlebars of Bob Marley's bicycle.

"We lived as brothers," Brevett said. "I could give you a whole book about me and Bob in the early days. I knew him before The Wailers was formed."

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Brevett was four years younger than Marley and still in school when the legendary reggae musician formed The Wailers and moved to Kingston, Jamaica. But they spent much of their childhood together.

"In the evening time, we would play ball in the park, and we played football together," Brevett said. "I played outside left, and he played outside right. He's a fast runner."

In 1963, Brevett formed The Melodians with Brent Dow and Trevor McNaughton, and from 1966 to 1971, the band had No. 1 songs in Jamaica. The three Melodians still sing classic reggae with harmonized vocals.

"I'm one of the best baritone singers in Jamaica," Brevett said. "And I work my fingers to the bone with my guitar."

The roots of reggae started with ska, then morphed into rock steady music that eventually became what is known as reggae, Brevett said.

"Now the youth take it to another level," he said.

Today's deejays often remix older reggae songs such as those performed by The Melodians.

"They are using our music because they still love our songs," Brevett said. "It's a good thing that we were here before them, because they are not creating any more music."

Brevett said deejays are adding their own lyrics that preach violence.

"There is no love there. You find people wanting to fight each other, and the deejays are killing one another because of the violence they teach," Brevett said. "And sometimes, you can't understand what they are saying. Some of them make sense, and some of them are talking nonsense."

Brevett thinks music should give people a loving feeling.

"Life is for living, and you do what you have to do. You might have something bad happen to you, but you can listen to a song to uplift you," he said. "That's what music is for -- happiness."

The Melodians have been spreading the message of love through music for 43 years.

"We were the guys making the sound of music to live forever," Brevett said. "All we have to do is spread the message of love all over the world. If the world could be at peace, we wouldn't be dropping bombs and see the children dying and people crying and mothers losing their sons and daughters."


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