Jimmy Cliff

Blog,legendary reggae artists 11/04/2013 7:58 am

Jimmy Cliff is arguably one of the most influential and talented reggae musicians ever to live. Not only a musician, but also an actor and only current living holder of the Order of Merit, the highest award given by the Jamaican government for the arts.

Cliff was born in the Somerton District, St. James, Jamaica. Cliff was writing music as early as primary school and, after convincing a record store owner to go into the recording business, had his first hit, Hurricane Hattie, at 14 years old. In 1964, after a string of local hits, Cliff singed with Island Records and moved to the UK where his career stalled for several years while the record company tried to sell him to rock audiences. In 1969, however, he released Wonderful World, Beautiful People, which forever melded reggae with a message of peace and love, followed by Vietnam in 1970, which Bob Dylan called the best protest song ever written.

In 1972, Cliff would star in the film The Harder They Come, also contributing several songs to the soundtrack. Those songs ended up getting major radio play, bringing reggae into the mainstream. He has since worked with the biggest names in music for almost half a century and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010. He still makes music and influences a whole new generation.