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Died On This Date (August 9, 1971) Leslie Kong / Notable Early Reggae Producer

Posted by themusicsover on August 9, 2010

Leslie Kong
1933 – August 9, 1971

leslie_kongLeslie Kong was unique in that he was a Chinese Jamaican and therefore seemed an unlikely person to be one of the founding fathers of reggae.  Kong owned a record store in Kingston when he heard a young Jimmy Cliff singing outside in 1961.  Kong had an epiphany and launched his own label, Beverley’s which was instrumental to the early development of ska, rock steady and reggae.  Kong recorded Cliff’s first record as well as Bob Marley’s earliest singles in 1962.  Other key reggae artists that Kong recorded during their early years were Desmond Dekker, Joe Higgs, Toots & The Maytalls, and Derrick Morgan.  Kong has the distinct honor of producing reggae’s first International hit with Dekker’s “007 (Shanty Town)” in 1967.  In August of 1971, Leslie Kong suffered a fatal heart attack.  Many believe it was due to a curse that the Wailers’ Bunny Livingston placed on him after a business dispute.  He was just 38.

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