History of the reggae hit "Bad Boys" (OST "Bad Boys")

On the fast-paced reggae hit "Bad Boys" by Inner Circle...

History of the song "Bad Boys" by Inner Circle

"Bad Boys" is the famous reggae hit about bad boys, which has become a worthy adornment of the repertoire of the Jamaican reggae band Inner Circle. The song was originally written and released in 1987, but ... there was no recognition from the public. However, everything changed in 1993: the re-released version reached the 8th line of the US Billboard Hot 100 and the 7th line of the Top 40 Mainstream chart. As a result, the track became a big hit: for several decades, the song was the theme song for the opening theme song of the reality television series Cops! “Bad Boys” also became a part of some movie soundtracks… Today, every music lover knows this hit, and many attribute it to reggae legend Bob Marley! And few people know that this dynamic composition actually belongs to Inner Circle… Today we are here to remember its amazing story!

Background, release

Inner Circle Band
Inner Circle Band

Although Inner Circle has been based in Miami since the 1980s, the band began in Jamaica in the late 60s as a group of young middle-class musicians who soon split into two different bands, the other being the successful reggae band Third World. Independent bands such as Inner Circle and Third World as recording artists have always been a relative rarity in Jamaica, where vocal bands or solo vocalists with bands exclusively for recording and touring are the norm. But Inner Circle soon established themselves well after meeting a charismatic young vocalist named Jacob Miller, with whom they had many hits. However... Miller's tragic death in a car accident in March 1980 forced the band to take a few years off to regroup. When Inner Circle reconvened in 1986, the members moved to Miami, this time led by new vocalist Calton Coffey. They set about re-establishing themselves in the international reggae market, which was still reeling from the death of Bob Marley in 1981. Inner Circle were the opening act for popular bands such as the Police and the Talking Heads. It all happened quite apart from the music scene in Jamaica... All this time, Ian and Roger Lewis, two brothers, remained the core of the Inner Circle.

Inner Circle, old photo from the show...
Inner Circle, old photo from the show…

Their second post-reunion album, 1987's One Way, included a catchy song written by Ian Lewis called "Bad Boys" hidden on the back side of the record. RAS Records, the die-hard Washington reggae label that released the album, didn't have the marketing or distribution clout to breach the mainstream with the song, but the band sensed its potential and re-recorded it for their next album, Identified. It was the same year that a new Fox TV show called "Cops" debuted, which used the song "Bad Boys" as the title theme: apparently it was chosen by one of the show's producers, who happens to be an Inner Circle fan...

Who is this song about? Subsequently, the author of "Bad Boys", Ian Lewis, said:

“The song was written about a young teenage man whom I met many years ago in Jamaica. Day after day, I watched him grow from this sweet young schoolboy into what he considered a real man... He was dependent on his parents, who were hardworking people. When I came to visit him and just talked to him, he was angry at nothing. He said: “I want to go outside and play (meaning musical instruments), but they don’t want me to play. I want to buy a car, and they don't want me to drive it…” And I told him: “You have to understand, there are rules and regulations… But every time I saw an uprising coming… Looking at it, this song came to my mind. "Do you want to be a bad boy? You don't want to listen to anyone, you want to have your own rules... But what are you going to do when they (the bad guys) come after you...' So 'Bad Boys' is a song about life. In fact, this song is truly for the heart, soul and mind of our young teenagers making the transition from adolescence to adulthood…”

Success, recognition and association with Bob Marley

Bob Marley's 75th Celebration Continues with Freedom Songs CD, Vinyl
Bob Marley's 75th Celebration Continues with Freedom Songs CD, Vinyl

As already mentioned at the very beginning of the article, the song "Bad Boys" was first released in 1987, as part of the One Way album: the early version was not successful and sold very poorly ... But in 1993 it was re-released and released in the United States as a single : As a result, the track reached number 8 on the US Billboard! Later she was awarded gold, and then platinum status! In the UK, the song reached only the 52nd position of the national chart ... However, this did not prevent it from becoming an international hit: for 3 weeks "Bad Boys" remained the leader in Norway and Finland, and in Sweden the song reached the 2nd line hit -parade.

In addition to the aforementioned "Cops", the reggae song was featured on the soundtrack of Bad Boys (1995) and Bad Boys 2 (2003)! Some listeners still associate this track with the name of the reggae legend, Bob Marley... Well, in terms of its sound, this song, perhaps, really resembles the work of this outstanding person. But it belongs, as we found out today, to the Jamaican group Inner Circle. However, it is still connected to Bob Marley to some extent: "Bad Boys" refers the listener to Marley's "I Shot the Sheriff", mentioning Sheriff John Brown:

"Bad boys whatcha want, whatcha want
Whatcha gonna do when sheriff John Brown
Come for you tell me whatcha gonna do
Whatcha gonna do yeahh/


Bad boys what you want, what you want
What are you going to do when Sheriff Brown
Will come for you, tell me what you're going to do
What are you going to do, yes…”

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