- DREAD Editions
1971: Babylon bans Beat Down Babylon!
Great memories of the PNP Badnwagon, the political tour set up by the PNP in 1971 and faeturing the most popular artists of the time including Bob Marley, Ken Boothe, Max Romeo of Junior Byle, by one of the Lewis brothers (from Inner Circle, they were backing the shows) in the Gleaner today! "Despite information online that Beat Down Babylon was released in 1972 – which would make it 50 years old this year – Lewis insisted that it was actually in 1971, because he recalled that year was the People’s National Party bandwagon and that song was a part of it.
“I remember Clancy Eccles and Junior Byles were on the bandwagon and, once when we were setting up for a concert, some police come by and seh anyhow Junior Byles come with nuh Beat Down Babylon, the show a go dun,” Lewis recalled. Babylon is a term loosely used to refer to oppressive system and policemen. Junior Byles took to the stage and did a number of songs, until it was time for Beat Down Babylon. “S eh mi no like dem kind of Babylon/Seh mi no dig dem kind of wicked men/For I am a righteous Rasta man/And I am a dread dread one I man/I an’ I goin’ beat down Babylon/I an’ I goin’ beat down Babylon.” As promised by the lawmen, that was the end of the show.
“Everything plug out and Clancy and everybody scatter,” Lewis recalled with a chuckle. “Then Michael Manley came and he told the policemen that Junior Byles was singing about the Babylon conditions of the imperialists and not about the good policemen in the force,” Lewis said in his best Michael Manley vocal impersonation."