The singer who put the rude in rude boy, Max Romeo was responsible for launching an entirely new sub-genre of reggae, whose overtly suggestive lyrics caused an outcry but took a massive hold of the music scene regardless. Yet innuendo was the least of the singer's stylings, previous to the release of his infamous "Wet Dream," Romeo had garnered a string of sweet hits with the vocal trio the Emotions. And once the nocturnal naughtiness faded, the singer established himself as one of the most important figures in the roots scene.
Romeo was born Max Smith on November 22, 1947, in St D'Acre, Jamaica. His prospects initially seemed dim; at 14 he left home and found a menial job cleaning out irrigation ditches on a sugar plantation. And there he might have stayed, if he hadn't won a local talent contest. With all the wide-eyed optimism of youth, the 18-year-old now made his way to Kingston, determined to become a star. Once in the capital, he hooked up with two other hopefuls, Kenneth Knight and Lloyd Shakespeare, and the Emotions were born. Their 1966 debut, "(Buy You) A Rainbow," produced by Ken Lack, was an immediate hit and over the next two years, the trio amassed an impressive list of successful singles.