King Sunny Ade, sometimes also called the Minister of Enjoyment, was born in Oshogbo, Nigeria in 1946, the son of a Methodist minister. He began his musical career when, after dropping out of grammer school, he drifted to Lagos and joined a highlife band. Inspired by the music of I.K. Dairo, he joined the Rhythm Dandies, led by Moses Olaiya (later known as Baba Sala, Nigeria's preeminent funny man and a prolific film maker). King Sunny was influenced by the legendary Tunde Nightingale (early Juju pioneer extraordinare) and borrowed stylistic elements from Nightingale's 'So wa mbe' style of juju.
In 1966 he formed his own band, the Green Spots. After a long eight years in which they recorded 12 LPs for the Nigeria-Africa Song label, in 1974 he entered into increasingly annoying contract hassles and a public court case. This experience prompted him into forming his own recording company linked to Decca Records. At this time he changed the name of his band to the African Beats.
King Sunny Ade and The African Beats tour with the typically large African line-up of 20-30 members. They play a spacey, jamming sort of Juju, characterized by tight vocal harmonies, intricate guitar work, backed by traditional talking drums, percussion instruments, and even adding the unusual pedal steel guitar and accordian.