The Skatalites’ instrumental for Welcome You Back Home, the 1964 duet featuring Jamaica’s Queen of Ska Doreen Shaffer and Barbadian singer Jackie Opel, is the soundtrack for a new “Its All in The Bag” commercial for Swedish company IKEA.
The ad, which has been shared on the home furniture giant’s social media pages, features 30 seconds of the song, the latest piece of classic Jamaican music to be used by an international company as synchronization music in movies, television, commercials, and video games.
Welcome You Back Home was recorded at Clement “Sir Coxsone” Dodd’s Studio One in Kingston, Jamaica in 1964.
Earlier this year, Toots & The Maytals’ I’ll Never Grow Old (1963), another Dodd production that contained the vibrant brass section from The Skatalites, was featured on Netflix’s postapocalyptic drama, Sweet Tooth.
The Godfather of Rocksteady Alton Ellis’s hit song, You’ve Made Me So Very Happy, which was released in 1970 both on Dodd’s Studio One and Trojan/Treasure Isle label, was also featured last year in the advertising campaign for German sporting giant Adidas’ Remember the Why 2023 basketball collection.
Numerous other veteran Jamaican artists and producers have had their music chosen over the years for synchronization, among them Barrington Levy, whose Here I Come (1985) was used in the movie The Harder They Fall; Sister Nancy, whose Bam Bam (1982) has been featured in Netflix’s Ozark and The Maid; and Wayne Smith’s Under Mi Sleng Teng (1985), which was used by Meta, the parent company name for Facebook, in its first video advertisement.
There have been happy reactions to the IKEA ad by ska lovers, who have watched it so far. Among them, one man who said he hoped it could spur a rebirth of Ska in Jamaica.
“Jamaica out there again. I recently noticed that in its latest round of Xmas advertising furniture giant Ikea has used Ska as background music. They’ve taken the instrumental intro plus the saxophone solo from Jackie Opel’s Welcome You Back Home and used it as the advert bed,” he noted.
“Am sure royalties will be generated and more focus on our foundation music which we’ve abandoned while myriads of ska bands in other countries embrace and keep alive. Here I must commend Richie Stephens for his tireless efforts to keep our foundation music alive in Jamaica. Big up Richie. Yes we play ska music on some oldies show on radio. Kudos to Kool FM and Mr Mundy-aka Stokey Love- for his Name Five segment on Saturdays. There are precious few disc jockeys on radio playing ska. Here I refer to mainstream and not internet radio. Thanks to Ikea’s insight, Ska might have a rebirth here,” he added.
Another music lover who shared the advertisement wrote: “What a delight and pleasure to hear the music of the original and legendary Skatalites band on this recent Ikea commercial. The classic song is ‘Welcome You Back Home’ with the potent vocal duet of Ms. Doreen Shaffer and the late Jackie Opel. My beloved father, Jah Jerry on guitar”.
The Skatalites was formed in 1964 in Kingston, Jamaica by key studio musicians Tommy McCook, Rolando Alphonso, Lloyd Brevett, Lloyd Knibb, Don Drummond, Jah Jerry Haynes, Jackie Mittoo, Johnny Moore, and Jackie Opel.
According to the band’s website, the musicians “had already been playing together in various studios and had played on many hit records of the time”, backing groups such as The Wailing Wailers, Toots, and The Maytals, and soloists such as Jackie Opel, Doreen Shaffer, Ken Boothe and Alton Ellis, and had performed together as the Skatalites for the first time at the Hi-Hat club in Rae Town, Kingston.
In November 2021, Dancehall megastar Shaggy had advised his Jamaican musical compatriots to focus more on making records that can be utilized in music synchronization, as these tracks have the potential to generate even more wealth for them.
“So we have to think about what that sound is – and the language and the melodies, and all of these things that work. Songs like what Barrington Levy is doing and all of these songs. Those songs are great sync records and we have to create sync records, records that do well in movies and commercials and stuff like that. You can’t just do it fi yuh likkle niche market. Is either you gwine keep it local or global,” Shaggy advised.
Shaggy’s music has been featured in several TV shows, including Family Guy, Ginny & Georgia, and New Girl, and in films such as Along Came Polly, After The Sunset, She’s The Man, Mr. Bean’s Holiday, and Little Black Book.