Halycon wins Antigua Panorama

Hatters win Trinidad & Tobago Panorama with the tune Tribute to Spree Simon

City Symphony wins Panorama in Grenada

Brooklynaires win New York Panorama, which returns to the ‘behind the Brooklyn Museum’ location

C.U.A Starlift win St. Vincent Panorama

Chronicle Atlantic Steel Orchestra wins Guyana’s National Steelband Competition

Gerald Forsyth OBE – Establishes Steelpan in the UK education curriculum – 1975

Pan Teachers Association – founded in UK

Twelve Bass invented by Rudolph Charles of Desperadoes Steel Orchestra

Calliope’s Children Steel Orchestra tours Romania


20th Century Steel Band Win UK Talent Show “New Faces in February 1975!!!

1 Feb 1975 – Series Three (20) – Viewers Winners Final 1


Stuart Jason was beaten by Malandra Newman in Heat 3.7 but got the viewers vote to appear again. Image © The Stage Media Company Limited

The eight acts appearing in this first viewers winners final were chosen by the public through the TV Times weekly coupon and were the acts the viewers felt deserved to win as opposed to the act chosen on the night by the panel of judges.

As with the two previous All Winners Finals of series three the show was guest hosted by comedian, and series two finalist, Nicky Martyn and he was joined by Tony Hatch, Mickie Most, John Smith and Derek Hobson, who would score the acts.

The eight acts returning for a second chance were;

  • 20th Century Steel Sound (nine-piece group) – Show 3.14
  • Together (five-piece group) – Show 3.2
  • Stuart Jason (vocalist) – Show 3.7
  • Bracken (boy and girl duo) – Show 3.9
  • Pete Duffy (comedian) – Show 3.10
  • Peter Crane (vocalist) – Show 3.11
  • Johnny Stafford (comedian / harmonica player) – Show 3.13
  • Mike Lancaster (comedian) – Show 3.15


20th Century Steel Band were the highest scoring act. Image © Trinity Mirror.

Making the most of their second chance were group 20th Century Steel Sound who booked their place in the series three Grand Final in July 1975. The nine-piece steel band were made up of six West Indian and three English members and achieved their astounding musical flexibility using 40 steel drums, plus other percussion instruments.

The band came to England in 1971, doing the rounds of the media including a Russell Harty Show. It was then that they decided to develop their own style of music, and the 20th Century Steel Band was formed.  After success on New Faces they secured their first big headlining tour in May 1976 and the show schedule included an appearance at Brunel University, London.




20th Century steel Band’s Warm Heart Cold Steel album and two singles are released on the prestigious United Artists Record label!

I have always been puzzled as how such an Iconic pioneering Steel Pan Album that inspired so many worldwide before the event of the internet, has been omitted from Steel Pan History! Imagine we were using steel pan to explore the contemporary sound of the time Jazz Funk, and I came up with Pan Funk, thus the Pan Innovation Project was born! I am a firm believer that in order for Pan to continue to innovate we must just follow the path that led me to here, 47 years later.


Warm Heart Cold Steel


Warm Heart Cold Steel ‎(LP, Album) United Artists Records UAS 29 878 XOT 1975                           

Warm Heart Cold Steel ‎(LP) United Artists Records                         UAS 29878          1975                   

Warm Heart Cold Steel ‎(LP, Album)        United Artists Records   UAS 29878          1975                    

Warm Heart Cold Steel ‎(LP)        Island Records   ILPS 9464                                         1975

20th Century Steel Band – Warm Heart Cold Steel album art                                      1975


20th Century Steel Band – Yellow Bird Is Dead album art             

Yellow Bird Is Dead

8 versions           United Artists Records                  1976                    

Singles & EPs

20th Century Steel Band – Endless Vibrations album art

Endless Vibrations

4 versions           United Artists Records                  1975                    

Endless Vibrations ‎(7″, Single, Pic)           United Artists Records   UP 35899            1975                    

Endless Vibrations ‎(7″, Single, Promo)   United Artists Records   UP 35899            1975                    

Endless Vibrations ‎(7″, Single)   United Artists Records   UP 35899                          1975                     

Endless Vibrations ‎(7″, Single)   United Artists Records, UP 35.899, UP 35899           1975

Heaven And Hell Is On Earth/Theme From Shaft ‎(7″Single)United Artists 5C 006-97373               1975                    

Heaven And Hell Is On Earth / Theme From Shaft ‎(7″Single) United Artists  UA 16 577A               1975                    

Heaven & Hell Is On Earth / Theme From Shaft ‎(7″) United Artists UP 36.021 1975

Heaven And Hell Is On Earth ‎(7″)             United Artists    UP 36021                         1975      

Heaven And Hell Is On Earth ‎(7” Promo) United Artists UP 36021                       1975                       

Heaven & Hell Is On Earth ‎(7″) United Artists      UP 36021, UP 36.021                   1975                      

Heaven And Hell Is On Earth /Theme From Shaft ‎(7″) United Artists UA 36 021,36 021A               1975                    

20th Century Steelband win New Faces the British National talent competition, and went on to perform alongside Mama Cass of the Mama’s and Papa’s, at the London’s prestigious Pallidum, which would now be the equivalent of Simon Cowell’s X-Factor.

The band came to England in 1971, performing on the Bailey’s circuit (Top Rank Bingo Halls) doing the rounds of the media including a Russell Harty Show. It was then that they decided to develop their own style of music, and the 20th Century Steel Band was formed. .

Back in ‘Heaven and Hell is on Earth’ was the first single released from the album ‘Warm Heart, Cold Steel’ in June 1975. The track was penned by founding band member Michael ‘Bubbles’ Olivier and was inspired by the imminent birth of his first born child.

Impending parenthood can be a scary time and it opens you up to viewing the world around you differently. Looking at the world around him almost with fresh eyes, Michael wanted to write a song that not only summed up the world his child was being born into, but also the reality of life through his eyes.

After success on New Faces they secured their first big headlining tour in May 1976 and the show schedule included an appearance at Brunel University and the Palladium

Michael was raised in a Christian household on the Caribbean island of Trinidad. This consisted of  going to church on Sundays, and with the ideology that both Heaven and Hell were places you can only get to once your soul has been judged after death. However, during somewhat of a ‘Eureka’ moment inspired by parenthood Michael wanted to tell the world that Heaven and Hell are not a duality as we have been taught by modern religion, but are actually a singularity (rather than 2 separate ‘locations’), both existing in our physical plane dependant on how we choose to live. Also believing that ‘as without, so within’, the concept of Heaven and Hell are also reflected in the minds of every human being. This means that if we create ‘Hell’ in our minds we shall experience it physically, and if we create ‘Heaven’ in our minds, we shall experience a more Heavenly existence. Ultimately what this means is that as a global collective conscience we can literally create both Heaven and Hell on Earth, but both are present and to which you subscribe the choice is yours. By your thoughts and your actions you choose to have either a heavenly or a hellish existence. The people want Heaven on Earth, but there are those who want Hell in equal number as there is big business in creating Hell. When you live in Hell people will pay top dollar for a little slice of Heaven! During the track the question is asked “who can solve the problem”? The answer is US. We are the answer. Ultimately the message is that we are ALL connected to God through just being alive, and what we need to do is stop looking outside of ourselves for salvation. Ultimately we must focus on ourselves and in being the best human beings we can be. When this is the energy we are putting out the universe responds in kind by returning it to us. The more people putting out love energy, collectively we can tip the scales toward a more heavenly existence on earth.

The lyrics are eerily prophetic, reflecting life throughout the ages. In the 46 years since its release, the words are true of every generation. “Things keep moving, Sunday morning, who’s been watching, the Devil is coming”. Back then he was talking about now. RIGHT NOW! This line in particular means that as life goes on (things keep moving), Sunday morning  – in Michael’s upbringing everybody was in church on Sunday morning praying outwardly to an external God to grant them in Heaven in the afterlife. Meanwhile….. while our eyes are closed, who’s been watching? The Devil IS COMING. While we are in church with our hands clasped and our eyes closed wasting time praying outwardly….. The wicked are HARD at work. Michael was warning us back then! Now, in 2021 I think it’s safe to say that the devil IS here! The world is at war, natural disasters, famine, plagues,  you name it, its all happening. If you want Heaven, you have to pay for it.

Michael uses juxtaposition to paint his picture of the world around him “People praying, Old Folks dying, the birds are singing, everyone’s got to make a living”. This is life, and the way it was written it will never not be relevant. Most recently, In 2020 the Covid pandemic had everybody praying to God to save us, while thousands of old folks perished, but the birds were still singing, and everybody still had to go out and make a living. Again, If you want Heaven you have to pay for it.

Then there’s the one line recognised across the entire globe. The track’s opening line – “children growing, women producing, men go working, some go stealing…. everyone’s got to make a living”, then later in the track Michael sings “that’s life”! This is true for everybody growing up in poverty and those words will always mean something to people in that position which is why it is THE most sampled pieces of music in Hip-Hop particularly, because Hip-Hop is known for being the voice of the oppressed.

Michael’s son and first born child ‘Shelly’ was born in June of 1975, the same month the track was released completely unknowing that his very existence inspired one of the most iconic tracks of all time.