Story of the Song | Pluto Shervington writes 'Your Honour' to protect his life - Jumps from woman's third-floor apartment as other man arrives
"Your Honour, I was inside the closet
Minding I an I own business
Your Honour, it was a complete stranger
Causing these disturbances
Him claim say mi touch him wife
Which is a wicked and awful lie
Mi two han' dem was occupied
Mi shirt in di lef' an' de pants in di right"
Your Honour is Pluto Shervington's enduring courtroom music drama about being caught in the closet of a woman's home by her very angry husband, who beats him badly. Written from the first-person point of view, Your Honour makes for humorous listening, but it was not funny for Shervington, who made a full confession to The Sunday Gleaner.
"Your Honour is a true story, I have to admit. It is not entirely as the song goes, but that is why I wrote the song," Shervington said from his Miami base in the United States. "It is what happens when you get caught in the right place at the wrong time."
So in real life, on an eventful night in 1975, Shervington was not in a closet clutching his clothing. He was sprinting down a road in the dark with his hands occupied as in the song, plus his shoes in the pockets of the little clothing he had left on. This was after jumping over the railing of a third-floor apartment balcony, the awnings of the two apartments breaking his fall as he tore through them. The woman was not the wife of the man arriving at the door or the man who exited over the balcony, although both men were married. And although he did not get hit physically, Shervington got a hit song inside and outside of Jamaica, Your Honour storming the charts in England in 1976 and Holland in 1982.
The incident did not result in a courtroom appearance, but Shervington wrote Your Honour in case the situation escalated to the point where he would turn up at the morgue. "Why I wrote that song was to make the public know. If I did not write it, that man would kill me. So if this man killed me, everyone would know is him," Shervington said. He did this without naming the man (who died eight years ago) or the woman (who is still alive, and, he believes, in Jamaica), adjusting the situation, but leaving sufficient clues for the other man to be aware that Shervington may have told other persons. As a popular entertainer, an investigation into Shervington's murder would have been intense and under public scrutiny.
CAR BLOCKED IN
It was his intermittent scrutiny of the parking lot that gave Shervington enough time to escape, although he was not looking out for the woman's husband, but checking on his car. "I was in an apartment in Jamaica in 1975. I used to drive a 1972 Jaguar XJ6. It so happened that the other man also drove a white Jaguar XJ6. When I was in the apartment, I kept looking through the louvre-style windows at my car - they were tiefing car hard at the time," he said.
"One of the times I saw two Jaguars parked outside - one parked behind me so I can't move my car. I say, 'I know who that is.' I left in a hurry," Shervington said. That meant taking the shortest possible escape route. "I jumped over the balcony from the third floor. The second-floor awning slowed me down. The first floor awning stopped me. The two of them were off the hinges," he said.
He could not stop at his car, which was blocked in, so Shervington ran for refuge with his shirt in one hand, pants in the other, and shoes in the pockets of the little he was still wearing, to the home of a friend who, fortunately, lived nearby. "I went back two days later. There were no scratches or dents on the car, fortunately," he said. Looking back, Shervington believes the other JaguarXJ6 driver blocked his in deliberately. "He knew I had a Jaguar and suspected something," he said. "She wasn't married. Her man was married, and I was married. All of this over what? It was the male ego."
Your Honour was recorded at the Federal studio with Val Douglas on bass guitar, Mikey Boo playing drums, Willie Lindo on guitar, and Robbie Lyn and Wyah Lindo playing keyboards. For them, it was a hilarious recording session as Shervington told them the situation that led to the song. For him, it was no joke.
There was no difficulty in getting airplay for Your Honour in Jamaica, Shervington saying that it was played constantly. He was never in an apartment - or anywhere else - with that woman again, and by 1976, he had left Jamaica. Both his Jaguar XJ6 and his BMW were sold, the latter to Bob Marley. He is sure that the woman heard the song and knew exactly what it was about, although "she and I never talked about it. I know she is going to read this article".
He recalls being in Jamaica last year and stopping at a bar in a rural community and hearing Your Honour being played on the jukebox. "That is 42 years later," he said in amazement.