The band peaked at No.1 with the song “Pass The Dutchie” and reached the Hot 100 Top 10 in 1983 earning them a Grammy nomination
In 1982 Teen group Musical Youth puts the world singing about…Dutchies. Find out what that really was
The young British-Jamaican band Musical Youth maybe doesn’t ring a bell to many anymore, but their 1982 reggae style song “Pass The Dutchie” perhaps do. The band reached No.1 in the U.K on October 2nd, 1982 and In February 1983, it reached #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in the U.S, it reached the #1 position in five other countries, and sold more than five million copies worldwide. But as innocent as this song sounds, the real subject of it was hidden between the lines. “Pass the Dutchie” was a cover version of two songs: “Gimme the Music” by U Brown, and “Pass the Kouchie” by Mighty Diamonds, which deals with the recreational use of cannabis (kouchie being slang for a cannabis pipe). For the cover version, the song’s title was bowdlerized to “Pass the Dutchie”, and all obvious drug references were removed from the lyrics. Dutchie is used as a patois term to refer to a food cooking pot such as a Dutch oven in Jamaica and the Caribbean. It has since become a drug reference, denoting a blunt stuffed with marijuana and rolled in a wrapper from a Dutch Masters cigar, since American and British listeners assumed that the term was a drug reference. However, the song gained some unexpected political and social-economic relevance due to the replacement of “herb” by “food” This idea was reinforced throughout the political and economic overtones of the song about extreme poverty and Musical Youth asking the question “How does it feel when ya got no food?”. Unfortunately, Musical Youth never got to experience the same success they did with “Pass The Dutchie”. They still scored some minor hits, did a song with Donna Summer and even got nominated for a Grammy in 1984, but the band broke up soon after, falling down into obscurity and being regarded today as one of the many 1980’s One Hit Wonders. Sadly one of the members, Patrick Waite, who had gone on to a career of juvenile crime, died in Birmingham in February 1993, at the age of only 24 years old, Patrick collapsed from a hereditary heart condition.
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