Thank you to Carter Van Pelt for contributions to this 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 Devin@rootfire.net.
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!
–Vernon “Maytones” Buckley (lead singer of The Maytones)
–The Mighty Diamonds (Donald “Tabby” Shaw, Fitzroy “Bunny” Simpson and Lloyd “Judge” Ferguson)
–Clinton Fearon (The Gladiators & Solo singer/songwriter)
–Albert Griffiths (The Gladiators)
–Michael Rose (Black Uhuru and solo artist)
-Earl Morgan (The Heptones)
–Hux Brown (guitar player for Sound Dimension and other bands)
-Earl “China” Smith
-Carlton “Santa” Davis
– Norman Grant (Twinkle Brothers)
– Ralston Grant (Twinkle Brothers)
– Eric Bubbles/Buddle (African Brothers)
– Winston Jones (Spanishtonians)
– Constantine Vision Walker (Wailers/ Soulettes)
– Fil Callendar
– Roy Cousins (The Royals / Tamoki Wambesi)