Greensleeves Records: A Musical Legacy Unveiled

Neil Greaves
Mar 27, 2024By Neil Greaves
Historic site of the US Military Tracking Station in Chaguaramas, Trinidad covered with overgrown shrubs and tree

Greensleeves Records has been a prominent figure in the music industry for decades, known for its influential contributions to the reggae and dancehall genres. Founded in 1975 by Chris Cracknell and Chris Sedgwick, the record label has since become a musical legacy that continues to shape the soundscape of contemporary music.

Greensleeves Records & Publishing, shortened to Greensleeves Records, is a record label specializing in dancehall and reggae music. The company was founded by Chris Cracknell and Chris Sedgwick. Based in Britain, Greensleeves Records started as a small record store in West Ealing, London, in November 1975.

The record label was founded in 1977, with early releases including albums by Augustus Pablo and Barrington Levy.

They have released records by Red Rat, Anthony Johnson, Barrington Levy, Billy Boyo, Chezidek, Dennis Brown, Dr Alimantado, Eek-A-Mouse, Elephant Man, Freddie McGregor, Gregory Isaacs, Keith Hudson, Mad Cobra, Scientist, Shabba Ranks, Sizzla, Vybz Kartel and Yellowman, and have had crossover pop hits with Tippa Irie's "Hello, Darling", Shaggy's "Oh Carolina", Beenie Man's "Who Am I (Sim Simma)" and Mr Vegas's "Head High." In 2002, Greensleeves released the popular Diwali album, which launched a global resurgence in dancehall reggae music. The album contained the global hits "No Letting Go" by Wayne Wonder and "Get Busy" by Sean Paul. The riddim (slightly altered) was also used by Lumidee on the hit "Never Leave You (Uh Oooh, Uh Oooh)". The label has a catalogue of close to 500 albums.

Historic site of the US Military Tracking Station in Chaguaramas, Trinidad covered with overgrown shrubs and tree

Greensleeves Publishing has the largest catalogue of reggae songs in the world, including the copyrights of Shaggy's "Oh Carolina", Sean Paul's "Get Busy", and "Break It Off" among over 20,000 copyrights.

The company was bought by Zest Inc. in 2006, and in 2008 was bought by VP Records.

With a focus on promoting Jamaican music and culture, Greensleeves Records quickly gained recognition for its groundbreaking releases by artists such as Barrington Levy, Yellowman, and Shabba Ranks. The label's commitment to showcasing authentic reggae and dancehall music has solidified its reputation as a pioneer in the genre.

One of the key aspects that sets Greensleeves Records apart is its dedication to nurturing emerging talent. The label has served as a platform for up-and-coming artists to showcase their music to a global audience, helping to launch the careers of many renowned musicians.

Greensleeves Records Catalog

The Greensleeves Records catalog boasts an impressive array of albums and singles that have left a lasting impact on the music industry. From classic reggae anthems to cutting-edge dancehall tracks, the label's discography reflects the diversity and richness of Jamaican music.

Notable albums such as "Police and Thieves" by Junior Murvin and "Two Sevens Clash" by Culture have become iconic within the reggae genre, showcasing the label's commitment to releasing music that resonates with audiences worldwide.

In addition to its catalog of music releases, Greensleeves Records has also been instrumental in documenting the history and evolution of reggae and dancehall music through various compilation albums and reissues. These collections serve as a testament to the label's dedication to preserving the legacy of Jamaican music.

 Greensleeves Records Legacy

As Greensleeves Records continues to evolve with the changing landscape of the music industry, its legacy remains firmly rooted in its passion for promoting authentic reggae and dancehall music. The label's enduring influence can be felt in the work of contemporary artists who draw inspiration from its rich musical heritage.

With a commitment to quality music and a deep respect for the roots of Jamaican culture, Greensleeves Records stands as a beacon of creativity and innovation in the music world. Its legacy serves as a reminder of the power of music to transcend boundaries and unite people from all walks of life.

High voltage electrical grid pylons crossing the St. Lawrence River

Whether you're a longtime fan of reggae and dancehall music or a newcomer eager to explore the vibrant sounds of Jamaica, Greensleeves Records offers a treasure trove of musical gems waiting to be discovered. Dive into the label's catalog and experience the magic of a musical legacy unveiled.