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Jazzie B's 1980s: From Dole to Soul

The Soul II Soul frontman tells his tale of the 1980s, an against-the-odds story of a young black British musician and entrepreneur in a time of radical social change.

The Soul II Soul frontman tells his Back to Life tale of the decade, an against-the-odds story of a young black British musician and entrepreneur in a time of mass unemployment and radical social change.

The decade saw him progress from a teen targeted by the law, with his own reggae sound system he took round London on a bus, to international superstar, as Soul II Soul topped the charts in the UK and in America, with a fashion line that sold from Camden Town to the world.

In the decade defined by image, Jazzie created his own unique style, the Funki Dred, the first black British street style, and a Soul II Soul fashion brand 'before we knew what branding was'. He achieved this with the aid of the Tories' Enterprise Allowance Scheme, whilst running his business and sound system as a collective at a time of rampant individualism. They helped forge a British multicultural identity as a generation of Thatcher's unwanted kids turned their music and art, through warehouse parties and pirate radio, into a positive statement of unity and style. Their album Club Classics Vol One and singles topped the charts worldwide by the end of the decade.

With Lenny Henry, Ian Wright, Viv Richards, Tony Hadley, Lord Tebbit, DJs Trevor Nelson, Judge Jules and Norman Jay, Caron Wheeler (singer, Soul II Soul), Caryn Franklin (founder, i-D Magazine) and Sheryl Garratt (editor, The Face).

1 hour, 1 minute

Last on

Tue 24 Jan 2017 02:10

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:03


    Food For Thought

  • 00:04

    The RAH Band

    The Crunch

  • 00:05

    Augustus Pablo

    King Tubby Meets the Rockers Uptown

  • 00:06



  • 00:06

    The Cats

    Swan Lake

  • 00:08

    Phil Collins

    In the Air Tonight

  • 00:09


    Pop Muzik

  • 00:10

    Prince Far I & The Arabs

    The Right Way

  • 00:14

    Adam and the Ants

    Kings Of The Wild Frontier

  • 00:15

    Spandau Ballet

    To Cut A Long Story Short

  • 00:16

    Curtis Mayfield


  • 00:17


    Hi Tension

  • 00:18

    Junior Giscombe

    Mama Used To Say

  • 00:19



  • 00:19

    Spandau Ballet

    Chant No. 1 (I Don't Need This Pressure On)

  • 00:21

    Junior Murvin

    Police And Thieves

  • 00:23

    The Cure

    A Forest

  • 00:25

    Laurie Anderson

    O Superman

  • 00:26

    Booker T. & The MG’s

    Soul Limbo

  • 00:30

    The Valentine Brothers

    Money's Too Tight (To Mention)

  • 00:32


    Papa's Got A Brand New Pigbag

  • 00:34



  • 00:34


    Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)

  • 00:36

    James Mason

    Sweet Power of Your Embrace

  • 00:33

    Fun Boy Three & Bananarama

    It Ain't What You Do...

  • 00:36

    59 Times the Pain

    Turn at 25th

  • 00:37

    Curtis Mayfield

    Little Child Runnin' Wild

  • 00:38

    African Music Machine

    Black Water Gold

  • 00:41

    Bobby Byrd

    I Know You Got Soul

  • 00:41

    Pet Shop Boys


  • 00:43

    Maceo & The Macks

    Cross The Tracks

  • 00:44

    Rick Astley

    Never Gonna Give You Up

  • 00:45


    You'll Never Stop Me Loving You

  • 00:45

    Philip Bailey & Phil Collins

    Easy Lover

  • 00:46

    Roy Ayers

    Everybody Loves The Sunshine

  • 00:47

    Jackson Sisters

    I Believe In Miracles

  • 00:50

    The Passions

    I'm In Love With A German Film Star

  • 00:48


    I Don't Know What It Is But It Sure Is Funky

  • 00:52

    Lalo Schifrin


  • 00:55

    Soul II Soul


  • 00:54

    Depeche Mode

    New Life

  • 00:57

    Soul II Soul, Caron Wheeler

    Back To Life (However Do You Want Me)


Role Contributor
Presenter Jazzie B
Director Matt O'Casey
Executive Producer Paul Bullock
Executive Producer Ryan Minchin


  • Sat 26 Nov 2016 22:30
  • Sat 26 Nov 2016 23:00
  • Sun 4 Dec 2016 23:45
  • Tue 24 Jan 2017 02:10

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