Althea & Donna

Decades: 1970s 2000s


Schoolgirls Althea Forest (1961, Jamaica, West Indies) and Donna Reid (b. 1960, Jamaica, West Indies) were 17 and 18 years old, respectively, when their catchy novelty hit, ‘Up Town Top Ranking’, hit the top of the charts in their home country. Their producer Joe Gibbs had supplied the tune for his own label (Lightning in the UK) and the girls were responsible for the patois lyrics, complete with girlish yelps in the background. The infectious tune and lyrics also caught the attention of the UK record-buying public in 1978 and the record went to number 1. This was a highly unusual event, made doubly so by the fact that ‘Up Town Top Ranking’ was actually an answer record to Trinity’s ‘Three Piece Suit’. Despite the backing of major record company Virgin Records, the duo found it impossible to produce an equally effective follow-up and went into the annals of pop history as chart-topping one-hit-wonders. Reid and Forrest now live...

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