Words by LargeUp Crew—
Augustus Pablo was not the first musician to make good music with a melodica but the late reggae pioneer, born Horace Swaby, legitimized the instrument with his ethereal, hypnotic and now legendary collaborations with Herman Chin-Loy, King Tubby and Lee “Scratch” Perry, as well as his own productions for his Rockers label. He was the first popular musician to be closely identified with the instrument, appearing on numerous album covers with the blow-organ in hand.
For us, the instrument will always be associated with Pablo and, by association, reggae and dub—even when it shows up in other genres and music. In light of Pablo’s 70th birthday this Saturday—which is being celebrated in Kingston as we speak with a weekend-long series of events culminating with a live concert featuring Augustus’ son Addis Pablo and friends at Countryside Club Saturday night — we’ve gone ahead and highlighted some of our favorite uses of melodica use in popular music, from Peter Tosh’s reggae versions to Oasis’ Britpop, and everything in between.
Click here to start the list.
And for more on Augustus Pablo and Rockers, read “Addis Pablo Selects 10 Classic Rockers.”