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Lovers Rock

A romantic, R&B-influenced form of reggae, Lovers Rock was a product of the U.K. reggae scene, becoming popular in the late '70s as mainstream roots reggae increasingly devoted itself to social protest and Rastafarian spirituality. From ska to reggae, Jamaican music had long been influenced by American soul, but lovers rock blurred the lines to a greater extent than ever before, pairing the smooth sounds of Chicago and Philly soul with reggae basslines and, to a greater or lesser extent, rhythms. Teenage vocalist Louisa Marks was the first British artist to score a lovers rock hit with her 1975 single "Caught You in a Lie"; in the years that followed, lovers rock became quite popular among inner-city Britons looking for an alternative to political reggae. While never quite prevalent in Jamaica, lovers rock was adopted as an alternate style by several major roots-reggae figures, including John Holt, Gregory Isaacs, Dennis Brown, and Freddie McGregor, who used it to broaden their repertoires and appeal to wider audiences. Dancehall vocalist Sugar Minott adopted a similar tactic during the '80s when he relocated from Jamaica to the U.K. Lovers rock maintained its popularity with its core urban audience into the '90s, and while it remained a style that few artists pursued exclusively, it helped singer Maxi Priest score several international hit singles.