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Editor’s Note – “The List of Jamaican Living Legends”

Thank you to Carter Van Pelt for his contributions to the Jamaican Living Legends list.

So many of Jamaica’s foundational artist are no longer here on Earth. All too frequently we read that another legendary singer, musician, or producer has passed. When that happens, Facebook timelines are flooded with tribute posts and YouTube clips of the artist’s best works. And rightly so! Yet at times I can’t help but wonder why we (I include myself here) so often wait until an artist has died to give him or her the tribute that they would have surely appreciated in life. Maybe human nature comes into play here. I don’t know.

The other day I asked my facebook friends to help me compile a list of still-living Jamaican artists who recorded in the 1960s, 70s or 80s. Happily, as we soon discovered, many more artists are still with us than I had realized!

Below I have compiled the names of all the living artists we could think of, and included links to their music (just click on a name.) My plan is to constantly update this list (as we think of more names, and, over the years, as artists fly away home). I know I’m missing a lot of 80s artists, specifically digital-era artists from the second half of the decade.

If you notice any omissions or errors, please send me a message at [email protected].

Above all, please support these living legends! Buy their music or merchandise, find out when they are coming to town and go see them, and listen to their tunes!

Winston Rodney aka Burning Spear

Winston Rodney aka Burning Spear

Vernon “Maytones” Buckley (lead singer of The Maytones)

Ken Boothe

Freddie McGregor


Dennis Alcapone

Winston Rodney aka Burning Spear

The Mighty Diamonds (Donald “Tabby” Shaw, Fitzroy “Bunny” Simpson and Lloyd “Judge” Ferguson)

Peter Austin (The Clarendonians)

Ernest “Soul” Wilson

Stranger Cole

Stranger Cole

Stranger Cole

Tappa Zukie

Keith & Tex

Lee “Scratch” Perry

Bunny Wailer

Clinton Fearon (The Gladiators & Solo singer/songwriter)

Albert Griffiths (The Gladiators)

Horace Andy



Toots Hibbert (of Toots & The Maytals)

Sly Dunbar (Sly & Robbie)

Robbie Shakespear (Sly & Robbie)

Johnny Clarke

Cornell Cambell

Cornell Campbell

Cornell Campbell

Barrington Levy

Little John

Michigan & Smiley

Leo Graham (The Bleechers and solo artist)

The Cables

Don Carlos

Michael Rose (Black Uhuru and solo artist)

Israel Vibration

Cedric Myton (The Congos)

Marcia Griffiths

Judy Mowatt

Rita Marley

Sister Nancy

Sister Carol

Wayne Wade

Wayne Jarret

Winston Jarrett

Linval Thompson

Rod Taylor

Johnny Osbourne

Sylford Walker

Sylford Walker

Sylford Walker

Welton Irie

Leroy Sibbles (lead singer of The Heptones, Studio One Bass player)

-Earl Morgan (The Heptones)

BB Seaton

Roy & Yvonne

Derrick Harriott

Derrick Morgan

-Roy Ellis

-Monty Neysmith

Keith Blake

Rudy Mills

Lester Sterling

Errol Dunkley

The Silvertones

Errol “Flabba” Holt (Roots Radics bass player and solo artist)

Bingi Bunny (Roots Radics guitar player)

Ernest Ranglin

-Monty Alexander


Half Pint

Junior Reid

Tonto Irie

Lone Ranger

Big Youth

Willie Williams

Hux Brown (guitar player for Sound Dimension and other bands)

Bob Andy

Pipe Matthews (Wailing Souls)

Bread (Wailing Souls)

Garth Dennis


King Jammy aka Prince Jammy

Aston “Family Man” Barrett

Keith Porter (The Itals)

Cocoa Tea

Judah Eskender Tafari

Tippa Lee

Tony Tuff

Jim Brown


Yami Bolo

Courtney Melody

-Earl “China” Smith

-Fully Fullwood

-Carlton “Santa” Davis

-Tony Chin

Leroy “Horsemouth” Wallace

Pablo Moses

Pablo Moses

Pablo Moses

Sidney Crooks

Ras Michael

Ernie Smith

Pluto Shervington

Willie Francis

Owen Gray

Kiddus I

Enos McCloud

Winston Reedy

Max Romeo

Winston Hussey

Tristan Palmer

Prince Alla

Junior Ross

Frankie Jones

Jimmy Cliff

Carlton Livingston

Scion Sashay Success

Doreen Shaffer

Lloyd Parks

Vin Gordon

Milton Henry

Keith Poppin

Bernard Collins (The Abyssinians)

Earl Zero

Carlton Manning (Carlton & The Shoes)

Harry Belafonte

Roy Panton

Yvonne Harrison

– Patsy Todd

– Junior Byles

– Lord Creator

Norman Grant (Twinkle Brothers)

Ralston Grant (Twinkle Brothers)

Leroy Brown

Leroy Smart

Eric Bubbles/Buddle (African Brothers)

Winston Jones (Spanishtonians)

Constantine Vision Walker (Wailers/ Soulettes)

Bongo Herman

– Fil Callendar

Roy Cousins (The Royals / Tamoki Wambesi)

Vin Gordon

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Devin spent almost 20 years as singer and songwriter for L.A. based roots-reggae band The Expanders. During that time he helped write/record/release 4 records, backed numerous veteran Jamaican artists at performances throughout California, and toured across the U.S. and Europe. He is also an experienced record selector and collector of Jamaican vinyl. Devin now splits his time between recording/performing solo acoustic reggae, playing guitar for veteran SoCal groups Long Beach Dub Allstars, The Lions, and Hepcat, and editing reggae news for You can follow him at @manlikedevin

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