Leggo | Breakaway Calypso aka Road March

Photo shows Norman Spann aka King Radio - first recorded Leggo winner 1932

Leggo! What does the word "Leggo" mean as it relates to the music and culture of Trinidad and Tobago? Just a reminder for those seeking out Caribbean culture, "Leggo" is very different from "Let Go", Ok! Now let's talk about "Leggo" and the musical "Leggos" of yesteryear that ruled past carnivals!

During the early formative years of our carnival celebration in Trinidad and Tobago, there was no 'Road March' song. Instead, there was the "Leggo" song! The "Leggo" and "The Road March" both reference the same thing. The most popular song played 'on the road' for that particular carnival year. So why make a big deal of it and change the name? Maybe it had to do with the formation and control of Carnival of a newly formed committee.

Regarding our Leggo and Road March post, we divided the listing into three segments the early years from 1834 to 1931, the Leggo Years from 1932 to 1961, and the Road March years from 1962 to the present. This post took the songs from the years recorded as "Leggo Years" to help people who wondered about the term "Leggo".

Just like the Road March the "Leggo" was used in the early years to represent a 'breakaway song' where people would 'let go' on the streets and just have fun. Indeed, it was a very popular calypso that captured the imagination of the people and led to just about everyone being able to sing a verse from the song. The most popular song for that carnival. 

The Leggo ensured that the masqueraders would 'let go' and appear to be 'out of control' as they celebrated the freedom of carnival. One must also keep in mind that Trinidad and Tobago had a Governor and it would not be until 1962 that the twin-island state gained its independence. Carnival time was used to 'let go' and just have a good time, parlance, protest in jest, or just go out and have fun. The "Leggo" juiced the celebration of those two glorious days. 

In 1962 Trinidad and Tobago became an independent nation and with that, the name of the most popular song played 'on the street' aka"Leggo" was changed to "The Road March".

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The Leggo Years
1930's
1932 Norman Spann aka King Radio  Tiger Tom Play Tiger Cat
1933 Norman Spann aka King Radio  Wash Pan Wash
1934 Cletus Ali aka Dougla  After Johnny Drink Me Rum
1935 Rafael Cairi Calls De Leon aka Roaring Lion Dingolay Oy
1936 Rafael Cairi Llama De Leon aka Roaring Lion  Advantage Could Never Done
1937 Rafael Cairi Llama De Leon aka Roaring Lion  Netty Netty
1938 Rafael Cairi Llama De Leon aka Roaring Lion  No Norah Darling
1939 Norman Spann aka King Radio  Mathilda

1940's
1940 Egbert Moore aka Beginner  Run Yuh Run
1941 Rafael Cairi Calls De Leon aka Roaring Lion Whoopsin, Whoopsin
1942  No Carnival No Carnival
1943  No Carnival No Carnival
1944  No Carnival No Carnival
1945  No Carnival No Carnival
1946  Aldwyn Roberts aka Lord Kitchener  - Jump In The Line or Chinese Never Had A VJ Day (Lai Fook Lee); information  is confusing regarding which song actually won. Unofficial Road March!
1947  Andrew Bernard aka King Pharoah  King Pharoah
1948  Fitzroy Alexander aka Lord Melody  Canaan Barrow
1949  Victor Atwell aka Wonder  Ramgoat Baptism

1950's
1950  Cephas Alexander aka Killer  In a Calabash
1951  Fitzgerald Henry aka Terror  Tiny Davis
1952  Carlton Gomes aka Spit Fire  Post Post
1953  Carlton Gomes aka Spit Fire  Bow Wow Wow
1954  Carlton Joseph aka Blakie  Steel Band Clash
1955  German Composition made popular by BBC radio UK 1953/1954 Happy Wonderer (Valerie Valera)
1956  Slinger Francisco aka "The Mighty Sparrow"  Jean and Dinah
1957  Carlton Gomes aka Spitfire PNM
1958  Slinger Francisco aka "The Mighty Sparrow"  Pay As You Earn
1959  Caruso  Run the Gunslingers

1960's
1960  Slinger Francisco aka "The Mighty Sparrow"  Mae Mae
1961  Slinger Francisco aka "The Mighty Sparrow"  Royal Jail

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