How Inner Circles’ Sweat still gets the crowd jumping 31 years after its release.

One of the ultimate party songs, Sweat (A La La La La Long) by Inner Circle still gets the crowd jumping 31 years after it was released. Last week, it notched another accolade when it was certified gold in the United Kingdom. 

The British Phonographic Industry acknowledged Sweat’s sales of over 400,000 with a gold disc. Along with Bad Boys, another Inner Circle monster jam, it has kept the veteran band fresh with fans whose parents were not born when brothers Roger and Ian Lewis formed it in Kingston, Jamaica 55 years ago. 

Produced by the Lewis brothers and the band’s long-serving keyboardist,  Bernard “Touter” Harvey, Sweat was a monster hit in 1992. Sweat and Bad Boys are from Bad Boys, which won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album in 1994.

“Sweat was released so long and has certified status in so many countries that we don’t think about it anymore. Just making the charts is enough for us. Our greatest joy is to see the audience’s reaction during our live performances,” said Harvey. 

He added that “The fact that a newborn baby can sing the hook, I believe is why it has endured all this time also the message is universal and the song delivers a great upbeat (Jamaican) vibe.”

At the time they recorded Sweat, Inner Circle were still trying to rediscover the magic they created with singer Jacob Miller, a jocular performer who led them on hit songs like Tired fe Lick Weed in A Bush, Tenement Yard, and Standing Firm. Jacob Miller was killed in a motor accident in 1980 at age 27.

Harvey, who joined Inner Circle in 1973, said Sweat was not an instant hit.

Bernard “Touter” Harvey at Keti Koti
Amsterdam 2022

At the time of recording, it was another song on the album. After performing it live for about six months we noticed the audience reaction, then while in Finland a Warner Music executive got excited after hearing it the first time. We got to Stockholm and the record company asked us to do a remix the way we performed it live. The rest is history, as they say,” Harvey recalled. 

Like Bad Boys, Sweat featured Calton Coffie on vocals. It peaked at number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, number three in the UK, and topped charts in nine countries including Germany, The Netherlands, and Switzerland. 

Bernard “Touter” Harvey, who has played on classic albums by Bob Marley and The Wailers and Bunny Wailer, says he and his colleagues never tire of breaking a Sweat. 

“I can honestly say both Sweat and Bad Boys have become iconic songs of pop culture and have helped to establish the Jamaican brand worldwide. There are still projects in the works that incorporate them in their end products. We, Inner Circle, are happy to be able to contribute our little much in putting Jamaica and our musical culture to the world.”Bernard “Touter” Harvey

By Howard Campbell