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The Royals

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Jamaican vocal group the Royals were founded in 1964 by singer and writer Roy Cousins, and the original lineup consisted of Cousins, Errol Wilson, Keith Smith, and Berthram Johnson, although the Royals were completely Cousins' baby, and he remains the only constant throughout the group's history. Their signature song, "Pick Up the Pieces," was originally recorded for Coxsone Dodd in 1967 (who released it under the group name The Tempests), but Cousins re-recorded an arguably superior version of it in 1973. Although the Royals worked with Dodd and other Jamaican producers like Joe Gibbs, Byron Smith and Lloyd Daley, Cousins increasingly began to produce the group's material, even starting his own record labels, Tamoki and Wambesi Records, in order to better control and distribute his productions. Cousin's skillful writing and the immense care he took in building rhythms and crafting suburb vocals (usually featuring his own high tenor) and harmonies has made the Royals one of the most respected of the island's vocal groups. Three albums of Cousins' Royals productions were released by Ballistic, a subsidiary of United Artists, between 1977 and 1979: Pick Up the Pieces, Ten Years After, and Israel Be Wise. Cousins moved to Britain in the early 1980s, where he has continued as a producer. ~ Steve Leggett

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Years Active:

'70s, '80s