Eek-A-Mouse began his music career when he was in college, releasing two roots reggae singles under his own name, which were produced by his mathematics tutor, Mr. Dehaney. These early works were influenced by the music of Pablo Moses. He then went on to work for various sound systems over the next few years and also released a few more singles. He adopted the stage name "Eek-A-Mouse" in 1979, taking the name of a racehorse he always bet on; it was a nickname his friends had used for some time. He began recording for Joe Gibbs in 1979, having a hit straight away with "Once a Virgin", now showing the influence of Ranking Joe, and this was soon followed with "Wa-Do-Dem" (produced by Douglas Boothe), and "Modelling Queen", which began an association with Linval Thompson, who produced his debut Bubble Up Yu Hip album. By the end of 1980, he had linked up with producer Henry "Junjo" Lawes, with whom he had big hits in 1981 with the likes of "Virgin Girl" and a recut "Wa-Do-Dem". In 1981, he was the star of the Reggae Sunsplash Festival, cheering audiences still mourning over the death of reggae icon Bob Marley.
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