JAMAICAN music legends The Skatalites have confirmed a special 60th anniversary show at Birkenhead's Future Yard. 

With the exception of Bob Marley & the Wailers, no Jamaican musical group has been as important and influential as The Skatalites, and it’s fair to say Marley’s career would have been impossible without the groundwork laid by that group.

More than a band, the Skatalites are a musical institution, an aggregation of top-notch musicians who didn’t merely define the sound of Jamaica, but were the sound of Jamaica in the 50s and ’60s.

Frequently credited as the originators of ska — the musical mash-up of calypso, Caribbean mento, R&B, and rock & roll that pre-dated both reggae and rocksteady — the Skatalites’ various members came up through the nation’s hotel bar scene of the late ’50s, banding together as both an original group and the often uncredited backing band for artists and producers such as Prince Buster and Duke Reid.

Although the group officially existed in its original incarnation for less than 18 months between 1964 and 1965, its members brought their signature styles to hundreds of the island’s releases. Following a handful of reunions in the ’70s and early ’80s, The Skatalites re-formed for good in 1986 and, over subsequent decades, have had a rotating line up responsible for late-period highlights like 1994’s Hi-Bop Ska and 2007’s On the Right Track.

The Skatalites play Future Yard on Sunday, June 30. Tickets on sale Friday, April 12 at 9am from futureyard.org