Misty in Roots began life as a Southall-based British roots reggae band in the early 1970s. Their first album was 1979's Live at the Counter Eurovision, a record full of Biblical Rastafarian songs. It was championed by BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel, helping to bring roots reggae to a white audience. At this early stage, the band was a collective with five lead singers and various musicians, though by the time of the second album the band had slimmed down to just three members. Along with Steel Pulse and Aswad, Misty in Roots were one of the most popular English reggae bands in the late 1970s.
In 1979 Clarence Baker, a member of the collective, was severely beaten and injured by the SPG during the protest in Southall against the National Front provocation. The punk band The Ruts who were partners of the People Unite cooperative honoured him in their song "Jah War" which appeared on their album The Crack.
After a break from recording in the 1990s, they returned, releasing a new album in 2002 and continuing to play concerts as of 2008[update].