Zap Pow Honored by Jamaica’s Prime Minister 2007


Reggae’s First Showband Was Ahead of Its Time
by M. Peggy Quattro

September 2007 – It’s about time! Zap Pow always struck me as the most progressive, talented band I’ve ever heard come out of Jamaica. Listen to their music and you’ll understand what I mean. Thirty years after the band sadly broke up, Prime Minister Simpson honored the members August 6, 2007, at her Independence Day Gala in Kingston. Then Zap Pow and friends honored Jamaica with their performance.

ZAP POW - Jamaica's 1st showband is still unsurpassed
ZAP POW – Jamaica’s 1st showband is still unsurpassed

The Jamaica Gleaner featured an article on August 30, 2007, where the surprised co-founder, lead guitarist, vocalist, and writer, Dwight Pinkney, expressed that “it’s better late than never.” Pinkney acknowledged the absence of co-founder Michael Williams, aka Reving Mikey Zappow, who passed away a couple years ago. Mikey named the group ZAP POW in 1969. He lived for the music, for the band, and for the recognition of the quality music they produced and performed.

I know this because Mikey and I were partners in the early-80s, drawn together by the music of Zap Pow. To this day, I am a major fan. In addition, Mikey Zappow co-created Reggae Report with me in ’83, and is also the father of my beautiful daughter, Arielle.

With a line-up that included Mikey Zappow on bass, Dwight Pinkney on guitar, David Madden on trumpet, Glen Da Costa on sax (both horn players went to Bob Marley’s Wailers afterwards), Cornell Marshall on drumns, and lead vocalist Beres Hammond, it’s no surprise they produced the most progressive music of that time. It still stands the test of time, as proven by the usage of the powerful “Last War” riddim into “Come Around,” a song that propelled DJ Collie Budz to the top of the charts.

ZAP POW - members noted by Mikey on bottom
ZAP POW – members noted by Mikey on bottom

The popular band performed throughout Jamaica, the Cayman, Guyana, Suriname’s Carifesta, Mexico, Canada, Bermuda, and the U.S. Pinkey recalls, “We grew until we were the highest paid band in the land.” He noted that they went through quite a few vocalists, including Third World’s Bunny Rugs and Inner Circles’s Jacob Miller, before adding Beres Hammond, “our best vocalist ever.”

To understand what Zap Pow is about, check out the CD Zap Pow: Reggae Rewind-Certified 1973 on VP Records.  All my favorites are there, including Mikey’s self-penned anthem “This is Reggae Music,” the upbeat “Sunshine People,” the haunting “Last War,” as well as “Rootsman Reggae,” “Bubblin Over,” “Some Sweet Day,” and more.

Hail Zap Pow – Reggae Rules!

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