Mon | Oct 26, 2020

Stories by Roy Black

Published:Sunday | December 29, 2019 | 12:00 AMRoy Black

The beginning and the end have oftentimes been linked in early Jamaican popular music. When Clement ‘Sir Coxsone’ Dodd bought The End nightclub at 13 Brentford Road (now Studio One Boulevard) in Kingston from the popular Jamaican footballer Noel...

Published:Sunday | December 22, 2019 | 12:00 AMRoy Black

While Christians were celebrating the birth of Christ, millions worldwide were mourning the passing of Dean Martin, James Brown, Eartha Kitt and George Michael on Christmas Day in 1995, 2006, 2008 and 2016, respectively. On each occasion, the...

Published:Sunday | December 8, 2019 | 12:00 AMRoy Black

“I’m dreaming of a white Christmas Just like the ones I used to know Where the treetops glisten And children listen To hear sleigh bells in the snow. I’m dreaming of a white Christmas With every Christmas card I write May your days...

Published:Sunday | November 17, 2019 | 12:00 AMRoy Black

Slackness – a colloquial term referring to vulgarity, corruption, or questionable behaviour – has been dominating the Jamaican headlines in recent times. The Petrojam scandal and irregularities at the Ministry of Education are just two of the cases...

Published:Sunday | November 10, 2019 | 12:00 AMRoy Black

Smooth-voiced baritone singers are almost a rarity in Jamaican popular music. Names like Lascelles Perkins, Wilfred ‘Jackie’ Edwards, Tony Gregory, Boris Gardiner, Beres Hammond, Freddie McGregor, Dennis Brown, Richie Stephens, and Dobby Dobson...

Published:Sunday | November 3, 2019 | 12:00 AMRoy Black

The Church was the main cornerstone of the foundation on which the careers of several successful recording artistes in early popular music was built. Among the standouts was Sam Cooke, rated by many as the most talented vocalist ever. He grew up...

Published:Sunday | October 27, 2019 | 12:00 AMRoy Black

The success of Jamaican music on the international market owes a lot to the contribution made by Emile Shalit, an Austrian-born American who established his record distribution company – Melodisc Records – in the United Kingdom (UK) in the late...

Published:Sunday | October 20, 2019 | 12:00 AMRoy Black

The 1972 release of I’ll Take You There remains one of the most popular recordings ever to emerge from the American Recording Industry. Performed by the soul-gospel family band, The Staple Singers for Stax Records, and done in the R...

Published:Sunday | October 13, 2019 | 12:00 AMRoy Black

The formation of the Jamaica recording industry marked the beginning of the road that led to the success of reggae music internationally. It came right on the heels of a noticeable downturn in mento music, Jamaica’s first commercially recorded...

Published:Sunday | October 6, 2019 | 12:00 AMRoy Black

Jamaica’s earliest music pioneers on the international circuit were Owen Gray, Laurel Aitken, Wilfred ‘Jackie’ Edwards, Millie Small, and the calypsonian, Lord Flea. The name ‘Millie Small’ may perhaps be the best known owing to the immense...

Published:Sunday | September 29, 2019 | 12:00 AMRoy Black

Blindness has oftentimes been linked to the success of recording artistes in popular music. Many music aficionados subscribe to the theory that when one sense is impaired, the others develop at a faster rate, and this may be a contributing factor....

Published:Sunday | September 22, 2019 | 12:00 AMRoy Black

Excelsior High School, situated along Mountain View Avenue in St Andrew, stands tall as the alma mater of iconic Jamaican folklorist, actress and author, the Honourable Louise Bennett-Coverley. It was at that institution, in 1939, that Louise...

Published:Sunday | September 15, 2019 | 12:00 AMRoy Black

Nine-eleven is a popular term used to describe the September 11, 2001, attacks by militant terrorist extremists,against United States (US) targets, which left some 3,000 persons dead, the vast majority of whom were innocent citizens. In Jamaica...

Published:Sunday | September 8, 2019 | 12:00 AMRoy Black

The eighty-first birth anniversary of the late iconic Jamaican singer Alton Ellis, which occurred last Sunday, revives memories of a man whose contribution to Jamaica’s popular music remains unmatched. One of the memories that has often been...

Published:Sunday | September 1, 2019 | 12:00 AMRoy Black

Although not being considered a legitimate Jamaican music genre and having just an ephemeral lifespan, Latin rhythms occupied a very important space in Jamaican popular music during its formative years. Providing stiff competition to the other...

Published:Sunday | August 25, 2019 | 12:00 AMRoy Black

Bob Marley and The Wailers came to real international prominence in the early 1970s through the release of eight albums – Catch a Fire, Burning, Natty Dread, Rastaman Vibration, Exodus, Kaya, Survival, and Uprising – produced by music mogul Chris...

Published:Sunday | August 18, 2019 | 12:00 AMRoy Black

In the years following 1962, while Jamaica was still basking in the euphoria of Independence celebrations, The Beatles were kicking up a storm on the other side of the Atlantic. With 20 No.1 hits to their credit, they became the biggest sensation...

Published:Sunday | August 11, 2019 | 12:00 AMRoy Black

Kingston High School, situated at 172 King Street in Kingston, was once a fertile breeding ground for a myriad outstanding Jamaican vocalists in popular music, many of whom went on to achieve international acclaim. The hitherto unexplained...

Published:Sunday | August 4, 2019 | 12:00 AMRoy Black

Derrick Morgan’s call for unity in his ska recording, Forward March, done in late 1962, was a most important directive in song that ought to have been embraced by the nation, which a couple months earlier had decided to determine its own destiny by...

Published:Sunday | July 28, 2019 | 12:00 AMRoy Black

The month of July is littered with the birthdates of outstanding Jamaican entertainers who have made invaluable contributions to the development of early Jamaican popular music. One such is Roy Shirley, who was born in Kingston on July 18, 1944....

Published:Sunday | July 21, 2019 | 12:00 AMRoy Black

Last Monday, July 15, marked the 69th anniversary of the birth of the late, legendary, Jamaican singer Gregory Isaacs. Dubbed ‘The Cool Ruler”, nine years after his passing, he is living up to his moniker as his hits still rule, causing Isaacs to...

Published:Sunday | July 14, 2019 | 12:00 AMRoy Black

Dennis Brown was just 12, going on 13, when he emerged on the entertainment scene in a most unusual way. He grew up with his father, Arthur, a scriptwriter and actor who took young Dennis along with him to many of his performances. The influence of...

Published:Sunday | July 7, 2019 | 12:00 AMRoy Black

History will record that Jamaica, too, had its brand of calypso. It became known as mento. The genre has been given scant respect by musicologists and music aficionados, perhaps because it emerged at a time when the Jamaican music industry was not...

Published:Sunday | June 23, 2019 | 12:00 AMRoy Black

Between 1960 and 1967, Prince Buster tread a musical path that many may find difficult to follow. He announced his intention to dominate the recording and sound system businesses in Jamaica from as early as 1961, when he warned in the recording...

Published:Sunday | June 9, 2019 | 12:00 AMRoy Black

Group singing became a very dominant feature of early Jamaican popular music during the ’60s. The most popular was the three-part harmony type demonstrated by the groups The Wailers, The Paragons, The Techniques, The Melodians, The Jamaicans, The...

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