25 MAY 2018: Long before Rihanna, the Merrymen created the sound that was Barbados. With a career spanning five decades, dating back to the early-1960s - anyone who visited Barbados (and danced at the Pepperpot) back in the day, has to be a fan. At their height the Merrymen were popular not just throughout the Caribbean, they toured globally and managed to reach the number one spot on the charts of several European countries.

Their trademark sound is an upbeat form of calypso, reminiscent of what was popular in the Caribbean in the late-1960s and early-1970s. Lead singer Emile Straker's whistling is one of the most distinctive components of their sound, and often serves as the primary focus of the musical interludes in their songs.

They have produced several memorable covers in this style, including versions of "Island in the Sun" (originally by Harry Belafonte), "Jamaica Farewell", "Hot Hot Hot" and "Mary's Boy Child". Their biggest hit was "Big Bamboo".

An early member of the Merrymen was Stephen Fields, who left the group and subsequently became Wardair’s Station Manager in Barbados.

The group have performed over the years at the (then) O’Keefe Center, Skydome (Rogers Center), Hamilton Place, Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Massey Hall, and many others. Their most notable appearances were at venues such as the Ontario Place Forum where The Merrymen broke and held the attendance record for 20 years and their 1979 performance at the Super Bowl Half Time Show in Miami.

Listen and reminisce…

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