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The Three Periods of Clinton Fearon’s Journey: Center Stage With Reggae Icons

Clinton Fearon just celebrated his 70th birthday. Looking back at his life, the international artist remembers the different steps that brought him where he is today.

First period of his journey happens in the country side of Jamaica. Clinton Fearon was born and raised in the hills of the island, often alone with his father and always away from the city. He discovers music being close to nature and started singing at school and at the church’s choir when he was just a boy. At 9 years old, all is set: Clinton got to see the Skatalites performing in a stadium and decided that this is what he wanted to do. Soon after the show he built himself a guitar, curving wood with home made tools, stealing forks from his dad to make the frets and asking a neighbor to buy him the strings. He played this guitar for 2-3 years until he heard that another neighbor was selling his own guitar. Young Clinton worked hard on the field to get the money from his dad, and bought the guitar.

The second period of his life began right then, when he arrived in Kingston at the age of 15, with a guitar on his back and some songs written already in the pocket. Clinton formed his first band, The Brothers. It’s only after meeting with Errol Grandison and being introduced to Albert Griffiths that Clinton stopped everything for music and joined The Gladiators, at age 19. For the next 18 years he travelled the world as bassist and singer in one of the pioneer reggae bands. In Kingston, the bass player and singer also worked for several producers in the major studio of the capital: Studio One, with Joe Gibbs, Harry J, Black Ark, Aquarius and more.

When things got sour with The Gladiators, Clinton left the band and Jamaica to start a new life in Seattle. In 1989 Clinton was rooted in the country and an active members of The Defenders (made of The Gladiators members, except for Albert Griffiths) until the mid 1990’s and the foundation of his own band, the start of his solo career as Clinton Fearon or Clinton & Boogie Brown Band. From Seattle, Clinton Fearon recorded 12 albums and toured around the world.

Follow Clinton Fearon’s journey and learn the history of reggae music from those who created it, at Center Stage With Reggae Icons.

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