Jimmy Cliff |
Cliff performing in 2012 |
Background information |
Birth name | James Chambers |
Born | (1948-04-01) 1 April 1948 (age 66)
Somerton District, St. James, Jamaica |
Genres | Ska, reggae |
Occupations | Musician, singer, actor |
Instruments | Vocals, guitar, piano, conga, keyboards |
Years active | 1962–present |
Labels | Island, Columbia, Trojan, EMI, CBS |
Jimmy Cliff, OM (born James Chambers, 1 April 1948) is a Jamaican reggae musician, multi-instrumentalist, singer and actor. He is the only living 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.
Cliff is best known among mainstream audiences for songs such as "Wonderful World, Beautiful People", "The Harder They Come", "Sitting in Limbo", "You Can Get It If You Really Want" and "Many Rivers to Cross" from the soundtrack to The Harder They Come, which ...view middle of the document...
Cliff's later local hit singles included "King of Kings", "Dearest Beverley", "Miss Jamaica", and "Pride and Passion". In 1964, Cliff was chosen as one of Jamaica's representatives at the world's fair. He soon signed to Island Records and moved to the United Kingdom. Island Records initially (and unsuccessfully) tried to sell Cliff to the rock audience, but his career took off in the late 1960s. His international debut album was Hard Road to Travel, released in 1967. It received excellent reviews and included "Waterfall" (composed by Nirvana's Alex Spyropoulos and Patrick Campbell-Lyons), which became a hit in Brazil and won the International Song Festival.
In 1972, Cliff starred as Ivanhoe "Ivan" Martin in the classic reggae film, The Harder They Come, directed by Perry Henzell. As the film tells Martin's story, he is a young man without funds. Arriving in Kingston from the country, he tries to make it in the recording business, but without success. Eventually, he turns to a life of crime. The soundtrack album of the film was a huge success that sold well across the world, bringing reggae to an international audience for the first time. It remains one of the most internationally significant films to have come out of Jamaica since independence. The film made its debut at London's Gaumont cinema in Notting Hill on 1 September 1972.
Both a popularizer of reggae music outside of Jamaica and an unorthodox, iconoclastic figure within the tradition, Jimmy Cliff is a durable Jamaican star with an international following. Even if he never achieved the fame and influence of his contemporary, Bob Marley, he blazed the way for Marley and other performers to spread their messages around the world. Cliff is perhaps best known for the 1972 film The Harder They Come, which explored reggae music and Jamaican life.
Cliff encountered racist discrimination in London and struggled for several years, but he found the musical atmosphere congenial. Recording with English rock groups as a background vocalist, he began to build a career of his own.
Influenced by: The Clash, The Isley Brothers, Joe Jackson, Men at Work, Joe Palmer, ‘The Police’, John Lydon, The Toasters, The Slackers, Robert Palmer, and later in his career Bob Marley (and vice versa).
Influences: Bob Marley, and many more reggae artists36