The Prince (2-Tone Version)



Buster he sold the heat
With a rocksteady beat

An earthquake is erupting
But not in orange street
A ghost dance is preparing
You got to help us with your feet

If you’re not in the mood to dance
Step back grab yourself a seat
This may not be uptown Jamaica
But we promise you a treat

Buster bowl me over
With you bogus dance
Shuffle me off my feet
Even if I kept on running
I’d never get to orange street

So I say there’s not much left to say
For the man who set the beat
So I leave it up to you out there
To get him back on his feet

Buster bowl me over
With you bogus dance
Shuffle me off my feet
Even if I kept on running
I’d never get to orange street

Bring back the who is the we want the…


Based loosely on Prince Busters ‘Earthquake’* this track was taken from a session recorded at the tiny Pathway Studios in Highbury, London. The other 2 tracks recorded were the b side, Madness, and a version of My Girl (with Barso on vocals) which was to remain under wraps until later in the bands career. Although Barso was less than impressed with the final mix of ‘Madness’, recording in his diary ‘Madness mix shit’, the track is a great example of early Madness charm. 

The Prince was one of the four tracks record during a session for The John Peel Show (broadcast 27 August 1979), which also included a version of Bed and Breakfast Man, with Chrissy Boy, and not Barso as originally thought, on vocals. There were three versions of The Prince in recorded in 1979; the single version, the album version and a third version for The John Peel Show. Mike Barson has stated that the Peel Session recording is his favourite 

Jerry Dammers first became aware of the band via graffiti sprayed on walls in North London referring to “Chalky Suggs”. They handed Jerry Dammers a demo tape and although he was impressed he said it “was a mess and that no other label would have signed them”. Dammers, who affectionately called them a “bunch of chancers” gladly offered them a deal with the label for a one off single.

*Although ‘Earthquake’ is credited as a Prince Buster original it borrows very heavily from ‘Blues In The Night’ by Johnnie Taylor. 

The song was initially recorded on 16 June 1979 at Pathway Studios, Highbury.  The track was then remixed on 9 July of the same year, along with the single’s B-side, “Madness“. The remix was in order to remove the hum from Lee Thompson‘s saxophone solo. However, Mike Barson showed displeasure at the mix of “Madness“.

The song was re-recorded later that year for the One Step Beyond… album. As well as having a distinctively clearer sound, the song’s lyrics were slightly altered, and Mike Barson later admitted in the 33⅓ book One Step Beyond… that he preferred it to the single version. The B-side, “Madness”, was also re-recorded for the album in a more multi-layered arrangement.

Lee Thompson Music & Words




Publisher Warner Chappell Music Ltd.

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