Harry J Allstars – Liquidator

29th November 1969 · 1960s, 1969, Music, Reggae

Skinhead favourite Liquidator, now synonymous with football, started life as a reggae instrumental by Harry J Allstars, becoming a top ten hit in 1969.

It borrows heavily from a 1967 rocksteady hit by Alton Ellis called Girl I’ve Got A Date and the musicians include Aston ‘Family Man’ Barrett and his brother Carlton Barrett of The Wailers on bass and drums, plus Alva Lewis who had played with them in Lee Perry’s studio band The Upsetters – core of the band also known as the Hippy Boys.

The distinctive Hammond organ is played by Winston Wright (from Tommy McCook’s Supersonics) and the familiar bassline turned up later in The Staple Singers’ huge hit I’ll Take You There. 

Liquidator was covered by The Specials as part of a ska covers medley called Skinhead Symphony on their 1980 chart-topping live EP The Special A.K.A. Live! It’s still the music Chelsea use when they run out on to the pitch for home games – just as it was way back in 1969 when the song reached the top ten.