Greensleeves to celebrate 40th with exclusive releases, concerts

International reggae pop artist Shaggy earning a number one was a moment of pride for Greensleeves.
Associated Press / Georgios Kefalas

Reaching a musical milestone.

British reggae music label Greensleeves Records is celebrating its 40th anniversary this summer. Founded in 1975 as a record store in West London, the shop quickly grew into a go-to locale for Jamaican record producers two years later. Now 40 years later the label is thrilled to reach this landmark event, said a spokesman for the company.

“We are proud of our continued survival and the development of reggae music,” said Chris O’Brien, artist and repertoire at Greensleeves. “We are also proud of being a launch pad for the successes of great artists.”

Since partnering with United States-based independent reggae label VP Records — which operates a record stores in Queens and Florida — Greensleeves is an even bigger influential brand in the genre, said O’Brien.

“The beginning years of the label saw many great successes but the partnership with VP in 2016 has increased our global reach to see Greensleeves become a truly international brand,” he said.

The label is home to tunes that popular dancehall artists created in the 90s, and is responsible for helping artists like Shabba Ranks, Beenie Man, and Shaggy accomplish hit singles. One of those pinnacle moments was “seeing Shaggy reach number one,” said O’Brien.

International reggae pop artist Shaggy scored a number one hit in 1993 with his song ‘Oh Carolina,’ and that achievement skyrocketed his career, shedding light on the independent label.

“‘Oh Carolina’ reaching number one was an epic feat because at that moment we knew the impact of our label and the vast fanbase we were reaching,” said O’Brien. “That was also one of the pivotal moments of Shaggy’s career that led him to international super-stardom.”

To celebrate its milestone anniversary, the label is releasing several new and exclusive music to honor its four decades in music, said O’Brien. A release of a digital and CD compilation of 40 tracks — each song commemorating the 40 years of being in the business — will debut, along with a special 40th Anniversary edition package of The Congos ‘Heart Of The Congos.’

And to top off the label’s birthday, various festivals, events, and concerts will be planned in London, Paris, and the 40th anniversary concert will take place at BB Kings in Times Square on June 21.

O’Brien said Greensleeves Records proved themselves to be an instrumental hand in the growth of reggae music and looked forward to its 80th anniversary.

“We couldn’t be prouder of this monumental milestone. Knowing that the label has had such an impact on the development of popular reggae styles such as lovers rock and dancehall gives us more motivation to keep pushing forward with more music and developing more great artists,” he said. “We hope that we can look back in another 40 years and see even more legends emerge from our catalog.”

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected]

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