Smiley Culture

  • Smiley Culture
  • "Police Officer" (UK Fashion) 1984 
  • "Cockney Translation" (UK Fashion) 1985 
  • Tongue in Cheek (UK Polydor) 1986 
  • The Original Smiley Culture (UK Top Notch) 1986 

London toaster Smiley Culture (David Emmanuel) was a fresh, smart comic who scored a British hit with “Police Officer,” poking fun at the local constabulary. (In the song, Smiley gets off easy when he’s recognized, but he allows that not all black Britons would be so lucky. Tragically, while awaiting trial for conspiracy to supply cocaine, he died from a self-inflicted stab wound during a 2011 police raid of his home.) “Cockney Translation,” a bright and funny number comparing London argot with West Indian slang — making a point about how separate the groups that use them really are — also topped the pop charts for weeks.

Both hits (and a subsequent single that didn’t make as much of a splash) are on the Polydor album; the Top Notch release contains longer dancehall mixes of six tracks.

[Bud Kliment]