Follow When Steel Talks
WST google search WST Forum WST facebook page WST on Twitter   WST Steelpan music videos on You Tube WST Newsletter Global Steelband listings

  Bookmark and Share

Interesting Steelband Facts and Trivia


Compiled by: Jerry Bain  ©2005 

TRINIDAD ALL STARS: This band started in 1935 as the “Hell Yard Boys”
  • They changed their name to “Second Fiddle” in 1936
  • They were also known as “Bad Behavior”
  • In 1938, they changed the name to “Cross of Lorraine”
  • They finally became “All Stars” in 1939.
  • The “Trinidad” was added in 1940 as suggested by their flagman, Jitterbug
  • Their original sponsor was “Catelli”
  • Under new sponsorship, they’re now known as “Neal and Massy Trinidad All Stars”
INVADERS STEEL ORCHESTRA: Started out as “Oval Boys” in the 1940s
  • In 1945, they changed to “Invaders”
  • Affectionately known as “The Harps” because of their sweet music
  • Their original sponsor in the 1960s was Shell
  • Sponsorship changed to “Trintoc” and “Petrotrin”
  • They are now known as BWIA Invaders.
DIXIELAND STEEL ORCHESTRA: They began in 1946 in Scott Bushe Street
  • Originally known as the “Boys of Iwojima” in 1948
  • Name changed to “Melody Makers”
  • Changed again in 1950 to “Dixieland”
  • Original sponsor was by Grell & Co, sponsors of Jeffrey’s Beer” ($600.00, T-shirts and 4 cases of beer)
  • Their “flagwoman” was Edmond Hart’s wife, Lil.
  • In the 60s they played for “Alcoa” and the “Country Club”
  • In 1962 they were sponsored by “Texaco”
  • They were the first steelband to play on local radio, on Sam Ghany and Frank Prados’ “Hi Neighbor” radio show.
  • They also won the music festival in 1960, with their rendition of “Agnus Dei”
  • No known sponsors at this time.
DESPERADOES: Known as the “Dead End Kids” in 1942
  • Originally sponsored by “Coca Cola” and known as the “Gay Desperadoes”
  • They’re the only band to win 3 consecutive Steelband Music Festival titles (1986, 1987 and 1988)
  • Named the “Steelband of the Century “ by Pan Trinbago
  • Awarded the Chaconia Medal of Merit
  • Sponsored by WITCO since 1980
TOKYO: Formed in 1942, they were originally known as “John John Boys”
  • Name changed to “Marabuntas,” then “Prodigal,” and later “Chinatown”
  • Last name change was “Destination Tokyo”
  • In 1963 they were sponsored by “Carib”
  • The original “John John Boys” were also responsible for forming pan sides such as “Fascinators,” “City Symphony,” “Crusaders” and “Tropical Harmony”
CITY SYNCOPATORS: Formed in 1950 after a split with members of “Casablanca”
  • Originally sponsored by the “Federal Tobacco Co.” of Belmont (makers of Diamond)
  • Played “Poets and Pheasants” in the1966 music festival to beat the “North Stars” who played the same tune.
  • Band now defunct.
TRIPOLI STEEL ORCHESTRA: Originally known as “Grow More Food”
  • Sponsored by “Esso” in 1956, they toured extensively and played at the Trinidad and Tobago pavilion at Expo ’67 in Montreal.
  • They have the distinction of being the first to have amplified pans on the road in carnival of 1956. (sorry Hilanders fans, the Bertphone came in the ‘80s)
  • Their first Captain was Joseph “Joe Crick” Christopher and it is said, that after an argument with his leading player at the time, Grandville Sealey, (who ended up being banned for 99 years from the panyard) some of their players left to form other bands, such as “Crossfire” with Sterling Betancourt and “Wonder Harps” with Othello Mollineaux
NORTH STARS: Formed in 1946 by members who left the “Harlem Nightingales”
  • The bands original name was “Nob Hill”.
  • Changed their name to “Sun Valley” and then to “North Stars” in 1950.
  • In 1952, they were sponsored by “Pan Am”
  • They have the distinction of being the first band to win Panorama in 1963, playing the Mighty Sparrow’s “Dan is de Man” arranged by Tony Williams.
  • Band now defunct since 1965.
POWER STARS: Formed in 1951 by Mc Donald Readhead, its original name was “Blue Stars”
  • They were sponsored by T&TEC in 1967 through the help of Mr. Fitz Blackman, then Mayor of Port of Spain.
  • Some members left and eventually formed “Humming Bird Pan Groove”
  • Their panyard was at the Western Main Road near Fort George Road
EXODUS: This band is relatively new, and was formed in 1980
  • Most of their players were from the “Gay Flamingoes” from St. Johns Road in St. Augustine
  • The “Pan Ramajay” competition was the brainchild of the band and has been very successful.
  • After 2 straight years of winning the Panorama championship, they were designated into 2nd place by Phase II in the 2005 Panorama by a mere 20 points.
CASABLANCA: They started out in 1937 as the “Merry Boys” at the foothills of 42 steps (Oxford St. for those out of town folk)
  • They won the Jaycees Steelband title in 1947 and 1948 at the Palladium Cinema in Tunapuna
  • Sponsored by Old Oak in 1962, and now sponsored by ISCOTT
  • In 1964 they won Gold at the Atlanta Film Festival for composition and background music, under Anthony Prospect
  • Most of their original players left to form “Casablanca Steel Orchestra in Berne,” Switzerland.
FREE FRENCH: Started in San Fernando in 1941
  • Originally known as “The Snow” and changed its name to “Cross of Lorraine” and then to “Free French.”
  • They joined with Southern Metronomes in 1965 to become known as “Acme Free French Metronomes” and were sponsored by Acme Supplies of San Fernando
  • Also sponsored by OWTU for some time.
HATTERS: Formed in 1946 and originally called “Broadway Syncopators”
  • Changed their name to “Broadway Hatters” in 1950
  • Most of their players were from Cavaliers and Silhouettes
  • Once sponsored by “Maritime Life” and now sponsored by “Trinmar”
HARMONITES: Founded in 1961 they were known as “Dodge City Boys”
  • They changed names to “Wonderland” then “Harmonites” in 1965.
  • In 1971 the band was briefly known as “Road Runners #1” after they split with Solo as a sponsor after 25 years.
  • In 1965, a competition was held in Woodford Square to decide the top steelband. The winner would pick the sponsor they wanted. The 4 sponsors were, Solo, Vat 19, Y. de Lima and Carib. The prizes were, 1 case of Vat 19, 2 cases of Carib and 4 cases of Solo.
  • Harmonites won the competition, and the rest is history. They became “Solo Harmonites”
PAMBERI: This band was formed in 1980
  • It was a combination of players from 2 other bands, “Finland” and “Marzicans”
POTENTIAL SYMPHONY: Formed in 1965, and was originally known as “East Side Symphony.”
  • Most of the players were from San Juan All Stars
  • Originally sponsored by GTE Sylvania until 1990.
  • Now sponsored by Royal Castle as of Nov. 1992
MERRYTONES: Formed in 1947 in Diego Martin (Green Hill)
  • Originally known as “Ice Water”
  • Name changed to “Northern Syncopators” in 1958
  • Finally changed to Merrytones in 1968
RENEGADES: Started in 1958 with members from Bar 20, Syncopators and Casablanca.
  • Originally sponsored by “Paramount Films”
  • Changed sponsorship to “Amoco Oil Co” and now sponsored by “BP Trinidad Ltd”
  • The name Renegades was apparently suggested by a loyal supporter, “Gold Teeth.”
PHASE II: Formed in Sept. 1972 , mostly by ex Starlift members.
  • The first steelband in the Panorama championship playing their own tune, (1987 ...“Dis Feelin’ Nice”)
  • Also repeated in 1998 with “Woman is Boss”
SILVER STARS: Started in 1950 by Ramon Young
  • Taken over in 1954 by Junior Pouchet
  • Sponsored in 1965 by Coca Cola
  • Now sponsored by Excellent Stores
  • This band came from the extended line of the Chans, especially the twins, Ronnie and Ray, the Youngs and the Quong Sings.
  • They are the only steelband to win the “Band of the Year’ title in 1963 portraying “Gullivers Travels” led by Russell Charter.
SAVOYS: Formed in 1950 in Laventille
  • Originally sponsored by Esso
  • Most of the players came from “Tin Pan Alley,” “Mission to Moscow” and “Torrid Zone”
  • Also had sponsorship from the Chase Manhattan Bank in 1964
WEST SIDE SYMPHONY: Formed in 1963 by a collection of players from the “Harlem Nightingales” and “North Stars.”
  • Later changed their name to “Sunjets” after being sponsored by BWIA
TROPICAL ANGEL HARPS: Formed in 1977 when players from “Enterprise Angel Harps” and “Golden Glow Tropical Melody” joined forces.
BOSTON SYMPHONY: This band was formed when a split developed between the “stage side” players of Trinidad All Stars over a dispute on contracts to play at the Hilton Hotel. 
  • The band lasted only 2 years.

Jerry Bain can be contacted at

Leave a comment in the WST forum

  When Steel Talks shirts
now available!
Order yours now!
 When Steel Talks -- T Shirt
When Steel Talks... Everybody Listens!
When Steel Talks News