Jimmy Cliff | Artist
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James Chambers OM, aka Jimmy Cliff, is a Jamaican ska, rocksteady, reggae and soul musician, multi-instrumentalist, singer, and actor, born 1944 in St James Parish, Jamaica. Starting out, Cliff entered talent contests and sought out many producers while still going to school, trying to get his songs recorded without success. He eventually convinced record store owner Leslie Kong to go into the recording business. After two singles that failed to make much impression, his career took off when "Hurricane Hattie" became a hit, while Cliff was aged 14. It was produced by Kong, with whom Cliff remained until Kong's death in 1971. Cliff had further local hits including "King of Kings", "Dearest Beverley", "Miss Jamaica", and "Pride and Passion". In 1964, he was chosen as one of Jamaica's representatives at the World's Fair in New York; and in the same year featured in a program called "This is Ska!" alongside Prince Buster, Toots and the Maytals and Byron Lee and the Dragonaires. He soon signed to Island Records and moved to the United Kingdom. Island unsuccessfully tried to sell Cliff to the rock audience, but his career took off in the late 1960s with his debut album Hard Road to Travel (1967) which had the hit song "Waterfall". This was followed by the singles "Wonderful World, Beautiful People" and "Vietnam", both popular throughout most of the world. Also during this period, Cliff released a cover of Cat Stevens' "Wild World" which was also a huge hit. In 1972, Cliff starred as Ivanhoe "Ivan" Martin in the classic reggae film, The Harder They Come, directed by Perry Henzell. The film and the soundtrack became cult classics which consolidated Cliff's star status. As a recording artist Cliff has gone on to release 30 studio albums, with highlights including Jimmy Cliff (1969), Struggling Man (1973), Save Our Planet Earth (1993), Rebirth (2012) and the 1976 live album In Concert: The Best of Jimmy Cliff. Also recommended is the Anthology compilation from 2003. Cliff is the only living reggae musician to hold the Order of Merit, the highest honour that can be granted by the Jamaican government for achievements in the arts and sciences.
Artist Website: jimmycliff.com
Featured Albums: Jimmy Cliff