On a technical level, this single was not the band's best, the solos aren't that top-notch either, but none of that matters, for it's the sheer exuberance of this number that made it the best selling ska single in history.
"Guns of Navarone" of course was the theme song to the 1961 flick of the same name, a WWII espionage flick that portrayed soldiers' courage and sacrifice in the face of great odds. Jamaicans knew all about both courage and sacrifice, but they had more to offer, an overwhelming optimism and self-belief that still exuded three years after independence, and that feeling rings through on every note of this hit.
The Skatalites' express it through their of music, a love of sound that permeates Jamaica, and here the band let loose
their joy. The brass band together to send that emotion skyward, a jubilant harmonic horn chorus that punctures the clouds.
Underneath, the rhythm section of Lloyd Knibbs and Lloyd Brevett shatter the ether with sharp rim shots and thumping bass. And overhead, the soloists burst forth, led by Roland Alphonso, who wrote this exuberant number, pushing each other out of the way in their desire to sound out their own jubilation.
The finishing touch was Lee Perry's, feeding the fire with his shouts, yelps, yips and chiggas, driving the song to distraction. A masterpiece of mood and genre, and one that almost single-handedly defines ska in most people's minds. Over a decade later The Specials would make it their own, and add even more punch to the number, but nothing could touch the unquenchable delight of the original.