Musical Youth formed in 1979 at Duddeston Manor School in Birmingham, England.
The pop/reggae group featured two sets of brothers – Kelvin and Michael Grant, and Junior and Patrick Waite, with Dennis Seaton on lead vocals.
The Waites’ father, Freddie Waite Snr, had been a member of a Jamaican group called The Techniques and sang lead with Junior at the start of the group’s career in the late 1970s.
Musical Youth are best-remembered for their successful 1982 single, Pass the Dutchie, based on the Mighty Diamonds’ Pass The Kutchie (a song about cannabis). The title (and lyrics) were subtly altered to the patois “dutchie” – referring to a type of pot used for cooking.
The record went to #1 in the UK in October 1982, going on to sell over four million copies. The accompanying video made them the first black artists to be played on MTV.
The boys scored number ones in Australia, New Zealand, Holland, Israel, Belgium, Spain and France, and Pass The Dutchie also made the Top Ten in Germany, France and South Africa.
They also snuck into the Top 20 with Youth Of Today (1982) and Never Gonna Give You Up (1983).
Their second album, Different Style! (1983), showcased more R&B-influenced repertoire to make the band more accessible in North America, but flopped on both British and American markets.
With their career slipping away from them, the band members became embroiled in legal, financial, and personal problems. The Waite brothers struggled with drug addiction, and Junior Waite began to show signs of mental illness. Musical Youth broke up in 1985.
Dennis Seaton did well for himself by putting all his royalties in trust. Patrick Waite died in 1993 and the brothers Grant continue to work in the music industry.
Michael Grant and Dennis Seaton performed as Musical Youth in 2003.
Freddie “Junior” Waite