Musical Youth drummer Frederick Waite Jr dead aged 85

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Musical Youth drummer Frederick Waite Jr has died aged 85 credit:Bang Showbiz
Musical Youth drummer Frederick Waite Jr has died aged 85 credit:Bang Showbiz

Musical Youth drummer Frederick Waite Jr has died aged 85.

The 1980s musician was behind No1 hit ‘Pass the Dutchie’, which recently featured on ‘Stranger Things’.

Frederick passed away in July in Birmingham with the band saying they were heartbroken to announce the news on Thursday. (11.08.22)

They added in a statement on Facebook alongside a picture of Frederick in his youth: “We are sad to announce the passing of Musical Youth’s drummer Frederick Waite Jr.

“Our thoughts go out to him and his family during this sad time. We have lost a musical legend, who inspired many young musicians over the last 40 years.”

The reggae band was formed in the West Midlands in 1979 by the fathers of Frederick and Patrick Waite and fellow sibling members Kelvin and Michael Grant.

They hit the big-time when ‘Pass the Dutchie’ was released in 1982 and sold five million copies, with the band making history when they became the first black group to have a music video played on MTV – beating Michael Jackson by several months.

Frederick’s death comes after Patrick Waite died aged only 24 in 1993 from a hereditary heart condition.

Among the droves of fans paying tribute was band UB40.

They said in a Facebook post on Thursday: “R.I.P JR. How sad to hear this news. Our thoughts go out to his family and Musical Youth. Big Love. UB40.”

Musical Youth were also known for their hits ‘Youth of Today’, ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ and a collaboration with Donna Summer on a track titled ‘Unconditional Love’.

Their ‘Pass the Dutchie’ hit was a take on ‘Pass the Kouchie’ by Jamaican act The Mighty Diamonds – a reference to passing around a cannabis pipe.

The band was put together by Waite's father Frederick Waite Sr, who was in a reggae band.

Frederick’s brother Patrick played bass, while Waite Sr sang until he decided they needed a younger frontman and the slot went to Dennis Seaton, while brothers Kelvin and Michael Grant completed the line-up.