Long before the Itals were a spark in their producers eye, Keith Porter recorded his first hit single, Hitey Titey, with the Westmorelites on the Studio One label in 1967. Keith became lead singer, first for Soul Hermit, and then for Future Generation in 1971. They performed all over Jamaica for X amount of years.
Tiring of the club scene around 1975, Keith ran into Ronnie Davis on Orange Street in Kingston and asked who was auditioning. Ronnie gave him a cassette with a rhythm he’d had a hit on. “I was so happy with that rhythm I didnt look any further,” says Keith. “In less than a week I had written Ina Disa Time and came back to Kingston to record it for Lloyd Campbell’s SpiderMan label. Ronnie and I both added harmony parts but there was no intention of forming a group; the record first came out as Keith Porter. After the song became a hit in Jamaica, Bryan Thomas of RJR suggested we call ourselve the Itals, so all of a sudden, Itals was a group.
Today the song remains the Itals’ signature tune, and has been described by Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones as the perfect reggae track. It is included on the Rolling Stones Artist Choice cd, released in 2003.
The success of “Ina Disa Time” saw the group return to the studio with the addition of Lloyd Ricketts singing a third harmony part on some superb recordings for the SpiderMan label. 1982 saw the release of the first Itals’ album, “Brutal Out Deh” on Nighthawk Records and a tour of the US backed by the Roots Radics. “Give Me Power,” was released to critical acclaim and hit ..1 on CMJ’s Reggae Route chart. In 1985, Pollstar Magazine placed them in the top 100 artists of the year.
“Early Recordings,” gathers Itals’ early singles and rare pre-Itals tracks. “Rasta Philosophy,” won a Grammy nomination for best reggae album in 1987, followed by “Cool And Dread,” “Easy to Catch,” “Modern Age,” “Mi Livity,” and a remastered compilation of earlier hits on “Mind Over Matter.”
Over the years, the Itals have performed countless shows worldwide. Although the background harmonies sometimes change, they always sound as sweet as ever, backing the original Itals lead vocalist, Keith Porter.