John Holt

Police in Helicopter

Song Review by

Militancy is normally found amongst the young, with age revolution's fire tends to sputter. At 36, John Holt could look back across a more than two-decade-long glittering pop career, both as a solo singer and as a member of the Paragons. Holt was in his early twenties when he deliberately began courting a maturer audience, transforming himself into a family entertainer, old before his time. But in 1982, he found a new lease on life, publicly announced his Rastafarian beliefs, and began deliberately courting the dancehall crowds. By the following year he had gained their attention, now he would earn their respect.

"Police in Helicopter" was produced by Junjo Lawes, who was instrumental in the singer's resurrection. Backed by Roots Radics, the single was a stunningly militant song, set to a deeply rootsy rhythm that reverberated with the booming beats beloved by the dancehalls, and laced by moody guitar passages. "If you continue to burn up the herbs," Holt adamantly declares, "we're going to burn down the cane fields." His fiercesome threat against Jamaica's eradication policy echoes across the grooves as passionately as the police searched for marijuana fields. "Helicopter" was a massive hit and titled the singer's new album, which was also released in 1983.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Police in Helicopter 1983 Greensleeves Records 3:39
Big Blunts, Vol. 2 1996
Various Artists
Tommy Boy 3:31
Volcano Special Compilation, Vol. 3 1998
Various Artists
Nyam Up 3:38
24 Karat Gold: A 24 Track Mega-Mix of Classic Dancehall Hits 2000
Various Artists
Shanachie Records 2:04
Selector's Choice Presents Mighty Crown 2001
Various Artists
VP Records 2:18
Blunted with a Beat Junkie 2004 Antidote 1:30
His-Story 2005 Charm / Jet Star Productions 3:38
Rare Grooves Reggae 04 2006
Various Artists
Wagram / Nova 3:34
Greensleeves Document 2009 Greensleeves Records
Riddimentary (Selected & Mixed by Diplo) 2011 Greensleeves Records / VP Records 3:27
Memories by the Score, Vol. 1 2015 VP Records 0:00
Total Reggae: Greensleeves 40th, 1977-2017
Various Artists
Greensleeves Records 3:38