As he releases new music at the age of 77, one of reggae’s foundational figures charts his astonishing life in music, via swinging London, Brazilian samba and the chaotic bravado of The Harder They Come

Even on his parents’ rural Jamaican farm, Jimmy Cliff dreamed big. “When I was a very small boy, my cousins and me would look after my family’s cows and goats, and I would talk about towns and countries I wanted to go to. Although they would laugh at me, I always had that kind of thinking.”

Cliff’s new single, Human Touch, released today, Jamaican Independence Day, marks more than 60 years in music from a man who has always looked beyond local life to move himself – and Jamaican music as a whole – on to a much larger stage. Cliff-penned songs such as Wonderful World, Beautiful People and You Can Get It If You Really Want are some of Jamaica’s most enduring pop music, and he is one of a few surviving musicians – after the recent deaths of stars such as Toots Hibbert and U-Roy – who can draw a line from ska at the start of the 1960s to today’s global reggae. “Ska did not develop until the time I came,” he says. “There were a few artists prior to that, but they were singing a version of rhythm and blues, Jamaican blues I would call it. I turned up in Kingston at just the right time – at the beginning of the real Jamaican music.”

Continue reading…

Categories: Uncategorized


Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *