5/6. The Skatalites, “Occupation”/The Upsetters, “Ring of Fire” (Johnny Cash)
Above all else, it’s the outlaw spirit of country that resonates in Jamaica. So naturally reggae artists would identify with the original badman, Johnny Cash. Back in the pre-reggae days, the Skatalites turned “Ring of Fire” into the seminal ska instrumental, “Occupation.” We’ve already established how much Western shoot-em-ups influenced Lee Perry in his early years. No surprise he’d find a kindred spirit in Johnny, giving “Ring of Fire” the Upsetters treatment in 1972.