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Musical Youth Biography

Formed at Duddeston Manor School, Birmingham, England, this pop/reggae-influenced group featured two sets of brothers, Kelvin and Michael Grant and Junior and Patrick Waite (c.1969, d. 18 February 1993). The latter pair’s father, Frederick Waite, was a former member of Jamaican group the Techniques, and sang lead with Junior at the start of the group’s career in the late 70s. Although schoolboys, the group managed to secure gigs at certain Birmingham pubs and released a single, ‘Political’/‘Generals’, on local label 021 Records. An appearance on BBC disc jockey John Peel’s evening show brought further attention to the group and they were signed to MCA Records. By that time, founding father Frederick Waite had backed down to be replaced by Dennis Seaton as lead singer. During the winter of 1982, the group issued one of the fastest-selling singles of the year in ‘Pass The Dutchie’. Based on the Mighty Diamonds’ ‘Pass The Kouchie’ (a song about marijuana), the title had been subtly altered to feature the patois ‘dutchie’ (literally a ‘cooking pot’). The infectious enthusiasm of the group’s performance captured the public’s imagination and propelled the record to number 1 in the UK charts. A US Top 10 hit also followed. The catchy follow-up, ‘Youth Of Today’, also reached the UK Top 20 and early in 1983 ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ climbed to number 6. Minor successes with ‘Heartbreaker’ and ‘Tell Me Why’ were succeeded by a surprise collaboration with Donna Summer on the UK Top 20 hit ‘Unconditional Love’. A revival of Desmond Dekker’s ‘007’ saw them back in the Top 30, but after one final hit with ‘Sixteen’, they fell from commercial grace and subsequently split up in 1985 when Seaton left the band. Plans to re-form were scotched when Patrick Waite, who had gone on to a career of juvenile crime, died of natural causes while awaiting a court appearance on drug charges. The Grant brothers remain involved in music, while Seaton released a solo set in 1989 before going on to form his own band, XMY. A re-formed version of Musical Youth appeared in 2003.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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