Posted by themusicsover on October 19, 2014
Winston “John” Holt
July 11, 1947 – October 19, 2014
John Holt was a respected reggae singer and songwriter who began his career by performing at talent shows in an around Kingston as far back as 12 years old. After winning upwards of two dozen of these contests, Holt recorded his fist single, “Forever I’ll Stay,” for the great Leslie Kong. The year was 1963, and two years later, he joined a band that would eventually become the Paragons, one of reggae’s biggest acts during the golden age of mid ’60s rocksteady. During that period, Holt wrote one of the band’s best known hits, “The Tide Is High,” which became a worldwide smash for Blondie in 1980. After the Paragons disbanded in 1970, Holt went on to have a successful solo career becoming one of Jamaica’s biggest stars of the ’70s. His hits included “Stick By Me,” “Help Me Make It Through The Night,” and “Touch Me In The Morning.” Holt released more than 40 albums and toured regularly throughout his career. In 2004, he was recognized with the Order Of Distinction by the Jamaican government for his contribution to the island’s music. In June of 2014, Holt was diagnosed with colon cancer and fell ill in August. He was 67 when he passed away on October 19, 2014.
Thanks to Harold Lepidus at Bob Dylan Examiner for the assist.
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Posted in Musician, Reggae, Singer, Songwriter | Tagged: John Holt, Leslie Kong | Comments Off on Died On This Date (October 19, 2014) John Holt / Reggae Great
Posted by themusicsover on August 9, 2010
1933 – August 9, 1971
Leslie 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.
Posted in Producer, Reggae | Tagged: Bob Marley, Bunny Livingston, Jimmy Cliff, Leslie Kong, The Wailers | Comments Off on Died On This Date (August 9, 1971) Leslie Kong / Notable Early Reggae Producer