Frederick Waite Jr., Musical Youth’s Drummer, Died At 55.
Frederick Waite Jr., the original drummer for the British-Jamaican reggae band Musical Youth, died at the age of 55. “Pass The Dutchie,” the band’s most well-known song, was originally released in 1982 but has recently gained popularity due to its prominent role in the soundtrack for “Stranger Things 4.”
The band announced his death on social media, saying, “we have lost a musical legend who inspired many young musicians over the last 40 years.” His death has been confirmed by the group.
Waite died in his hometown of Birmingham in the same year that the band Musical Youth was formed. As of this writing, there is no known cause of death, but the local council has issued a notice requesting an investigation into his death, which occurred more than three weeks ago on July 20. The preliminary hearing for the inquest was held on Monday, July 1, and the inquest will conclude on January 17, 2023.
Waite, who was born on May 23, 1967, joined Musical Youth at the age of 12. Initially, he fronted the band alongside his brother Patrick on bass and the Grant brothers Kelvin and Michael, both of whom sang and played guitar (keyboards).
Both sets of fathers were instrumental in the formation of the band. Waite’s father, Frederick Waite Sr., was a member of the Jamaican reggae band The Techniques. These connections eventually brought the two families together. When Musical Youth first formed, he and Waite, the band’s younger member, alternated lead vocals.
Both Waites stepped down from singing roles as soon as the band signed to MCA Records (who they were introduced to via an appearance on John Peel’s BBC Radio 1 show), with Jr. moving to drums and newcomer Dennis Seaton taking over on the mic. The Waiting was eventually chosen as the band’s name.
Musical Youth achieved success in 1982 with the release of “Pass The Dutchie,” a mashup of U Brown’s “Gimme The Music” and the Mighty Diamond’s “Pass The Kouchie.” The song topped the singles charts in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia (and peaked just one spot shy in Germany).
When their debut album, also titled “The Youth Of Today,” was released in 1982, it included the song alongside other singles such as the title track, “Never Gonna Give You Up,” and “Heartbreaker.” After falling out of favor for a while, the song has recently made a comeback thanks to its inclusion in the most recent season of Stranger Things.
The follow-up, 1983’s “Different Style!,” was less successful commercially but produced hit singles such as “Sixteen,” which featured Jody Watley’s assistance, and “007.”
“Frederick Waite Jr” Musical Youth was disbanded in 1985. They had planned to reunite in the early 1990s, but Patrick Waite’s death in 1993 from a heart condition put an end to those plans. Dennis Seaton and Michael Grant reformed as Musical Youth in 2001, and they released an album titled “When Reggae Was King” in 2018.
Lloyd Brown, a musician, songwriter, and producer, paid tribute to Waite on Facebook, saying, “I remember one meeting at the ‘Search For A Star’ grand final talent contest function helmed by the late Flip Fraser and the Voice newspaper where we appeared with Prince Lincoln, Sugar Minott, Winston Reedy, Aswad, and The Instigators.” Waite collaborated with Brown while in London. All I could hear after the surprise guests, Musical Youth, entered the room was a deafening chorus of screams lol.
After sharing the stage at several festivals, our bands developed undeniable mutual respect for one another, and we quickly became friends. Their global success inspired us, as it did countless other young bands, some of which are still active today.
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