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Maxi Priest

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Biography

Christened the "King of Lovers Rock" by his fans, British reggae star Maxi Priest was one of the most internationally popular reggae singers since Bob Marley. Priest's pop and modern R&B influences didn't exactly endear him to reggae purists, but they gave him a strong crossover appeal that paid off in the trans-Atlantic chart-topper "Close to You." At times he strayed too far from his reggae roots to deliver a true stylistic hybrid, but his silky-smooth voice was ideally suited for light, romantic material, and his best music was as sensual as it was soulful. Priest was born Max Elliott on June 10, 1962, in the Lewisham area of London. He was the eighth of nine children, born to parents who had emigrated from Jamaica several years before his birth. His mother was active in the Pentecostal church, and the family grew up singing gospel music together; Maxi would later convert to Rastafarianism, upon which point he changed his name to Maxi Priest. He was working as a carpenter when he was invited to build speaker boxes for the prominent Saxon International sound system. It wasn't long before his contacts there discovered that he could sing as well, and soon he was participating in live dancehall shows; in 1984, he and Paul "Barry Boom" Robinson also co-produced Phillip Levi's "Mi God Mi King," the first U.K.-born reggae single to hit number one in Jamaica. Priest signed with Virgin Records and released his debut album, You're Safe, in 1985. A more traditional reggae set than his subsequent releases, it featured production by Robinson and live instrumental backing from the band Caution, and spun off the U.K. hit "In the Springtime." His 1986 follow-up, Intentions, featured two more U.K. successes in "Strollin' On" and the Van Morrison cover "Crazy Love." However, it was 1988's Sly & Robbie-produced Maxi Priest that ranked as his true breakthrough; his Top 30 cover of Cat Stevens' "Wild World" gave him his first American hit, and another cover, Robert Palmer's "Some Guys Have All the Luck," kept his hit streak alive in the U.K. Elsewhere, he embraced slinky lovers rock grooves to a greater extent than ever before, and even made a rare detour into social consciousness with the Beres Hammond duet "How Can We Ease the Pain?." Now hugely popular in the U.K., and on his way in the U.S., Priest recorded what would become his biggest-selling album, Bonafide. Released in 1990, it climbed up the charts by virtue of the steamy, Soul II Soul-influenced single "Close to You," which went all the way to number one on the American pop charts. Follow-ups "Just a Little Bit Longer" and "Space in My Heart" failed to duplicate its success Stateside, although "Peace Throughout the World" and "Human Work of Art" were both popular in Britain. The hits collection Best of Me was rushed out in 1991, not long after Priest teamed with Shabba Ranks for the dance-club hit "House Call," and not long before another Priest duet, the Roberta Flack collaboration "Set the Night to Music," climbed into the U.S. Top Ten. Nonetheless, Priest's next album, 1992's Fe Real, was a solid outing but a commercial disappointment; neither of the American singles, "Groovin' in the Midnight" or the Shaggy duet "One More Chance," made much of an impact either. After a supporting role in the movie Scam, Priest took a sabbatical from recording for a few years to concentrate on launching his own U.K. label, Dugout. Priest returned in 1996 with Man with the Fun, the most crossover-oriented album in his catalog to date. It spun off a U.S. and U.K. Top 20 hit in "That Girl," another duet with Shaggy. Despite its dancehall flavor, much of the album found Priest moving away from the lovers rock that had made his name. That trend continued on 1999's CombiNation, which focused predominantly on hip-hop and smooth soul balladry. Duet singles, guest appearances, and a 2003 U.S. tour with Joan Osborne, Bootsy Collins, and Motown's the Funk Brothers took the singer to his 2004 album 2 the Max. It was followed in 2007 by the album Refused, while 2008 saw him hit the road with UB40 and collaborate with the band on the single "Dance Until the Morning Light." In 2012 the Maximum Collection set rounded up both his global and Jamaican singles, while two years later, the album Easy to Love arrived on the VP label with Sly & Robbie and Beres Hammond among its guests. ~ Steve Huey
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Top Tracks

  1.   Track
    Popularity
  2.   Close to You
  3.   Wild World
  4.   Anything You Want by Estelle
  5.   Just a Little Bit Longer
  6.   That Girl by Shaggy
  7.   Try
  8.   The One
  9.   Back Together Again
  10.   Here We Go
  11.   Peace Throughout the World
  12.   Bubble My Way
  13.   Man with the Fun
  14.   Marcus
  15.   Ain't It Enough
  16.   Housecall
  17.   The Tide Is High
  18.   Won't Let It Slip Away
  19.   Woman in You
  20.   Space in My Heart
  21.   Say a Prayer for the World
  22.   Love Don't Come Easy
  23.   How Can We Ease the Pain? - (W/Beres Hammond)
  24.   Hard to Get
  25.   God Watches Over Us
  26.   Frienenemy
  27.   Fields
  28.   Are You Ready for Me
  29.   All Kinds of People
  30.   You're Safe
  31.   Let Me Know
  32.   Caution
  33.   Should I (Put My Trust in You)
  34.   Love Train
  35.   Never Did Say Goodbye
  36.   Best of Me
  37.   Happy Days by Chaka Demus & Pliers
  38.   Sure Fire Love
  39.   Golden Lady
  40.   Human Work of Art
  41.   Believe in Love
  42.   It's A Summer Vibe
  43.   I'm Alright featuring Dwayne Shippy
  44.   I'm Alright by Shaggy
  45.   NRG
  46.   Bonefide In Dub
  47.   Bonefide Dub
  48.   Fly High Pop Reggae Mix
  49.   Dreaming
  50.   Baby Boo
  51.   Bonafide
  52.   Falling for You
  53.   What Is Going on with You
  54.   Hearts Across the World
  55.   Holiday
  56.   Without a Woman
  57.   Loving You Is Easy
  58.   My Favourite Things
  59.   What A Wonderful World
  60.   I As A King
  61.   Fly High
  62.   Easy to Love
  63.   All My Loving
  64.   Time of the Year
  65.   Happy Days featuring Chaka Demus
  66.   Bonefide
  67.   Love Will Come Over
  68.   Perfect Love
  69.   Too Late to Turn Back Now
  70.   Goodbye to Love
  71.   Wildfire
  72.   Watching the World Go By
  73.   There's Nothing Like This
  74.   Ten to Midnight
  75.   Sweat a Go Buss
  76.   Suzie You Are
  77.   Sublime
  78.   Strollin' On
  79.   Some Guys Have All the Luck
  80.   Same Old Story
  81.   Promises
  82.   Problems
  83.   Pretty Little Girl
  84.   One More Chance
  85.   Must Be a Way
  86.   Message in a Bottle
  87.   Mary's Got a Baby
  88.   Make My Day
  89.   Just Wanna Know
  90.   It's a Lady's Night
  91.   In the Springtime
  92.   Hey Little Girl
  93.   Heartbreak Lover
  94.   Groovin' in the Midnight
  95.   Festival Time
  96.   Can't Turn Away
  97.   Crazy Love
  98.   Cry Me a River
  99.   Gravity
  100.   Love Me Always
  101.   What a Woman Needs
  102.   Human Cry
  103.   Goodbye to Love Again
  104.   Fatty Fatty
  105.   Let Them In
  106.   If I Gave My Heart to You
  107.   I Could Be the One
  108.   Tell Your Man to Take a Walk
  109.   Golden Teardrops
  110.   Life
  111.   Never Meet a Woman Like You
  112.   Just to Know
  113.   Merry Christmas Baby
  114.   Fly So High
  115.   Your Love to Me
  116.   Full Hundred
  117.   I Believe in Love
  118.   Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
  119.   Heartbreak Lover featuring Beres Hammond
  120.   Smiling Faces
  121.   Wasn't Meant to Be
  122.   Temptress
  123.   So What If It Rains
  124.   She Wants to Dance
  125.   Love Will Cross Over
  126.   12 Days Of Christmas
  127.   Jingle Bells
  128.   Silent Night
  129.   Make Me Wanna Holla
  130.   Like an Angel
  131.   Merry Christmas
  132.   You
  133.   Do You Hear What I Hear?
  134.   Rock Steady Love
  135.   We Wish You A Rasta Christmas
  136.   Cry For the Children
  137.   It Ain't Easy
  138.   Every Little Thing
  139.   The Art of Seduction
  140.   Like I Do
  141.   We Tomorrow's People
  142.   None of Jah Jah Children
  143.   Is This Love
  144.   Tender Touch
  145.   Jehovah
  146.   Easy Now
  147.   I Only Have One Heart
  148.   Birthday
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