Fab 5 was formed in 1970 and over the years has emerged as Jamaica's pre-eminent popular band.This distinction is based on record sales at home, hits on the charts, frequency of engagements and major awards won over the years. The Band's first recording, Come Back And Stay, was number one in Jamaica.
In their first year on the road, and for the following two years, they won the only available award, the Swing Awards for best band of 1971-72, 1972-73 and 1973-74. They also took the El Suzie Award as Joint Top Road and Dance Band for 1975-76 and the RJR Listeners' Award for Best Band in 1980.
The Group backed Johnny Nash on all the reggae cuts comprising most of his platinum album I Can See Clearly Now. Two singles from that album, Guava Jelly and Stir It Up, and also established Bob Marley as a major songwriter on the international scene.
Fab 5 has enjoyed an endless succession of hits in Jamaica and the North American market. In their early years their musicality and showmanship along with songs such as Chirpy Cheep, Shaving Cream, Oh Dad, and Love Me For A Reason, made, them the rage on the dance and show circuits. More recently, they have been kept on top by the likes of Yu Safe, Ring Road Jam, Feeling Horny, Computer Mad, What The Police High Command Can Do, Jamaican Woman, Psalms, All Night Party, Mini, Sweat, Don't Wear None, Freeze, Good Buddy, Mango and their Live series. Their twenty-two albums have been as successful as their singles, and their multi-award winning soca album Yu Safe was probably the most popular album produced in Jamaica in the decade of the '80s. A CD of some of their biggest hits Fab 5 Greatest Hits has been released along with five of their newest CD albums - Good Buddy, the massively successful Fab 5 Live - The Ultimate Vintage Jamaican Party Mix Part 1 & the equally successful follow-ups Part 2, Part 3 & the recently released Part 4, as well as the Box Set which includes all four.
Their soca smash Shape is still very popular and the band’s versatility is proved by Dugu-Dugu their all-reggae release and the preceding all-ska album Ska Time. The late noted musician and journalist Sonny Bradshaw had said of Fab 5 that they are the only Jamaican band still playing authentic ska. The newest release from the band is the 2012 live tribute to Jamaica 50, 50 Years of Jamaican Music 1962-2012, which has been selling quickly. The busiest band in Jamaica, Fab 5 is in great demand not only for concerts and dances but also in the studio where they are the leading creators of commercial jingles for radio and television, dominating the airwaves and earning a string of prestigious awards, including four golden microphones. They have their own recording studio (Stage Studio) and Record label and distribution company (Stage Records Ltd). They have been the chosen band for almost every national and state occasion since the mid 1970s. In 2003 Fab 5 received the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in The Performing Arts for their services to Jamaican music.
They have taken their authoritative brand of Jamaican music all over the world. They have shared bandstands with many of the great and famous names of modern popular music, including: Ray Charles; Dizzy Gillespie; the Grateful Dead; Rick James; Linda Ronstadt; the Neville Brothers; Roberta Flack; Fats Domino; Peter, Paul & Mary; Joe Jackson; The Chi-Lites; Skeeter Davis (with whom they are currently working on a recording project); the Drifters; Miriam Makeba; Bob Marley; Jimmy Cliff; Chuck Jackson; The Mighty Sparrow; Aretha Franklin; Gladys Knight; Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes; Jerry Butler; the Manhattans; Ray Goodman & Brown; and the Delphonics.
They have performed at the Kool Jazz Festival and the New Orleans Jazz Festival and for Japansplash and have entertained a live audience of one million at an anti nuclear concert in New York's Central Park.
They have triumphed not only with the music of Jamaica but also with their own compositions of soca, the music of the Eastern Caribbean.
At different times and in diverse settings, they have enchanted audiences with soul, funky, rock, jazz, disco and classical music, their album made with other Stage Records artistes –“Christmas In The Sun” is easily the most successful Christmas album by a Jamaican entity and the 2002 follow-up “Fab 5 – A Jamaican Christmas Gift” has proved just as popular.
They have dominated the Jamaican awards for show and dance bands and demonstrated their supremacy at the Jamaica Band Festival at the Wyndham New Kingston in December 1987.
Their collection of major awards, by far the greatest of any entity in Jamaican music, includes twenty-nine between 1986 and 1996, from all principal sources - the JBC, RJR, the Daily Gleaner, the Star, Rockers, the Jamaica Music Industry (JAMI) and the Jamaica Federation of Musicians (JFM), the most recent being the 1995 Rockers Award for Best Band, the 1996 award for Best Group (Instrumental) at the Jamaica Music Awards, a 1999 Tamika Award, the 2000-2002 JFM Best Show Band Awards, The Reggae Soca Awards Best Soca Band 2002-2003 and a 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award from Reggae Sumfest.
The group has also won several international awards, including the 1996 award for Best Album and Best Single both for Good Buddy at the Miami Reggae/Soca Awards and the 1999 "Best International Reggae Album" award at Canadian Reggae Music Awards for "Fab 5 Live - The Ultimate Vintage Jamaican Party Mix ... Part 1 ."
Fab 5 has also won the "Best Soca Album" award at the Reggaesoca Awards in Miami for their 1999 album Shape, making them the first group in history to win best album awards for reggae and soca in the same year.
In addition, the band's musical director Grub Cooper has won numerous awards, including the Order of Distinction - Officer Class (OD) and Commander Class (CD) 2006 (a national award of the Government of Jamaica), and a special honour award from the JFM (1988) for his outstanding contribution to the development of Jamaican music. He has also been Jamaica's leading theatre musician for more than three decades.
The band’s Bassist and Manager, Frankie Campbell, has also received the prestigeous Order of Distinction (OD), making Fab 5 the only current Jamaican dance/show/backing band with two such awardees. Fab 5 have also been actively involved in keeping Jamaican music alive, with major representation on the boards of the Recording Industry Association of Jamaica (RIAJAM) and the Jamaican Association of Vintage Artistes and Affiliates (JAVAA). The band also works with many charitable organizations.
Musicianship, dedication, integrity and discipline are the hallmarks of Fab 5, who have earned and retained the respect of the music industry, critics and general public over the past thirty-six years and are all set for continued success in the future. In July of 2011 their performance at the renowned “Celebrate Brooklyn” festival drew sustained applause for over 5 minutes and their performances at the Irie Fest in Toronto during Caribana have become legendary.
The band comprises three 1970 foundation members - manager Frankie Campbell (bass); Harold (Jr) Bailey (guitar, flute and saxophone now part-time and overseas sound engineer) and; musical director Grub Cooper (drums and lead vocals), - Sidney Thorpe (keyboards), 1979; Donovan Lee Palmer (Keyboards), 1991; Romeo Gray (trombone) 1995; Andre Palmer (Trumpet) 2006; Andrew Cassanova (2012) who has been working with our brother group (the Unique Vision) for over 10 years; and Cleveland Manderson (2010) who has been working with the Unique Vision for over 25 years. Other personnel performs from time to time as part of the wider Stage Records (the band’s recording company) family.