“Murder She Wrote” by Chaka Demus & Pliers
“Murder She Wrote” is one of those types of songs where its chart history – even though it fared moderately well in the UK – does not do it proper justice. Because in reality even decades after its initial release, it is one of the most-recognizable Jamaican dancehall songs in history. Moreover it was an integral part of Jamaica’s own US invasion of the American music industry. And said invasion occurred in the early 1990s and featured other dancehall artists such as Super Cat, Patra and especially Shabba Ranks.
Song’s Title (“Murder She Wrote”)
The title of this song, as you may already know, was derived from a popular late-20th century television show of the same name. And whereas said program featured a fictional detective who commonly investigated murders, this song is not murder in that sense. Rather it centers on a character named Maxine who, according to the vocalist, is very attractive. However she also possesses qualities which they define as a “devil heart” and “bad character”. And what this means within the context of the song is that she is overly-promiscuous. In fact they find her ways so off-putting that Chaka Demus basically threatens her with death if she tries to seduce him. Indeed what he rather desires is a lady who has substance, i.e. one that can take care of a household, as opposed to a girl who is flashy.
Is this song against abortion?
It has been deduced that the “murder” which Chaka Demus & Pliers are actually referring to is abortion. In other words, due to her uninhibited sexual activities, Maxine has the tendency to get pregnant on a regular basis via different men. However, she never takes these pregnancies as far as actually giving birth. So even more so than her promiscuity, it is apparently this aspect of her behavior which the vocalists are most-pointedly chastising.
Summary: In all, “Murder She Wrote” is about a fictional woman named Maxine. She has a “pretty face and bad character“.
Facts about “Murder She Wrote”
“Murder She Wrote” was written by Chaka Demus & Pliers, a pair of musicians from Jamaica. And the track was produced by another Jamaican musical duo known as Sly & Robbie.
“Murder She Wrote” broke the top 30 of the UK Singles Chart. It is considered by many to be the Chaka Demus & Pliers’ signature tune.
This song came out on 1 January 1993 via Mango Records. And it is on Chaka Demus & Pliers’ album entitled “Tease Me”. This album was actually a big hit in the UK.
Angela Lansbury is the veteran actress who starred on the TV show this song is named after. And the show, as alluded to earlier, was a mainstay on American television during the 1980s and 1990s. And she did finally get around to hearing the track – in 2019 at the ripe old age of 93. Moreover she went on to state that she is “thrilled to be part of” the history of reggae.
The instrumental of this song samples a track named “Bam Bam”. Said track was released by another Jamaican band known as The Maytals back in 1966.