Murvin Smith, known to the music world as Junior Murvin, passed away on Monday at the Port Antonio Hospital in Portland Parish, Jamaica. Murvin was a member of Bob Marley and the Wailers from 1977 to 1981 and a successful solo artist. He was 67 years old.
Speaking to the Jamaica Observer, his son, Kevin Smith, said that Murvin was admitted to the hospital last Thursday for treatment of hypertension and diabetes. There will be an inquest to determine the cause of his death.
Murvin was born in Jamaica and moved to the U.K., where he started acting and singing in musicals and performing as a guitarist. He formed his first band, Hanson, in 1973 and released two albums of funk rock, “Now Hear This” and “Magic Dragon.”
He returned to Jamaica and recorded the track “Police and Thieves,” with producer Lee "Scratch" Perry; his debut album, also titled Police and Thieves was released in 1977 for Island Records. The song became a hit for Murvin as it chronicled the agitation and social upheaval of the times, notably in England where it gained notoriety among punks and was cleverly covered by The Clash on its first album.