One of the more fascinating cultural exchanges of 20th century’s popular culture was the huge impact Italian-made spaghetti westerns of the 1960’s – aimed for the European and US markets – had on Jamaican music. It took them a while to reach the Jamaican shores – on average it seemed like a three year delay – but once there there is no overstating the influence this new wave of cinema had on the musicians and producers.
Pretty much every title and character you can think of seemed to have at least one song written in their honor (to be quickly recorded and shipped off to the UK where the kids bought the 7″ records by the tons), with Lee van Cleef ranking highest, and Franco Nero‘s coffin-dragging Django coming in at close second – actually generating a Top Five hit for The Upsetters!
I assembled a couple of personal faves off of YouTube for you to peruse – some having pretty damn cool fan videos. Check out Trojan Records‘ 2004 compilation album The Big Gundown for more goodies.
Sir Lord Comic Django Shoot First
The Upsetters Return of Django
King Stitt Lee van Cleef
Lee Perry Clint Eastwood
Ramon & The Crystalites Undertaker’s Burial
Roy Richards Death Rides a Horse