Sat | Oct 19, 2019

At 75, Dandy Livingstone makes a comeback

Published:Monday | October 7, 2019 | 12:24 AMRoy Black/Gleaner Writer
Dandy Livingston
Dandy Livingston

After being out of the music business for 40 years, legendary singer, producer and songwriter Dandy Livingstone has made a resurgence with a brand-new single, released in April 2019. Titled, They Call Us Legends, the song is currently available on various online platforms and also on vinyl in Europe.

Livingstone belongs to an exclusive fraternity of Jamaican singers who made their mark abroad, and ultimately assisted in laying the foundation for the exposure of Jamaica’s ska, rock steady and reggae to a international audiences.

It was in 1959 that he left Jamaica to join his mother in the United Kingdom, where be became a musical ambassador. His latest single is a tribute to artistes, like himself, who have gone all the way in their efforts to keep Jamaica’s popular music legacy alive. The punch lines of the song send the message:

“They call us legends

We are the cornerstones

They call us legends

Sitting on our throne

They call us legends

We wear the golden crown.”

In a recent interview with The Gleaner, Livingstone revealed the influence that led him, at 75 years-old, to come out of retirement. “Of late, the word ‘legend’ kept popping up in my mind, and it dawned on me one day that I was a legend and I said to myself, ‘Why not do something that is dedicated to our legends in the music business?’ and that’s how it all came about,” he said.

TROJAN RECORDS

Livingstone’s legendary status rests, primarily on his contribution to the larger-than-life Trojan Records. He was there at the beginning in 1968, and collaborated with legendary producer Bunny Lee and future owner Lee Gopthal in naming the entity Trojan Records. Thereafter, he became a major force in the early years of Trojan. Livingstone was one of the company’s first salespersons, songwriter, record producer, and recording artiste. Reggae in your Jeggae and Raining in my Heart were among his hits in 1969, while he produced the smasher Red Red Wine for Tony Tribe the following year. His 1972 hits, Suzanne Beware of the Devil and Big City peaked at No. 14 and No. 20 respectively on the British pop charts.

Livingstone intends to follow up on his new-found energy by doing a series of shows in Italy, Germany and England next year, with plans to complete the album, They Call Us Legends, by yearend.