Jimmy Cliff----- Check out Jimmy Cliff LIVE at Bonnaroo 2010
Jimmy Cliff will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 15th. To honor this amazing achievement here's a music video from the remastered 1970's classic DVD "The Harder They Come" that made Jimmy Cliff a legend and introduced reggae to the U.S.
This music video and much more can be found on the new Xenon Pictures Jimmy Cliff DVD Box Set which includes the original film "The Harder They Come" - digitally remastered - plus several bonus features including a documentary on the making of "The Harder They Come," and the original soundtrack CD which is featured on "Rolling Stone's 100 Most Influential Albums of all Time."
To listen to Jimmy Cliff LIVE in Concert at The Uptown Theater in Kansas City, MO on October 9, 1982 CLICK HERE
With over 20 albums to date, Jimmy Cliff has always been one of the brightest stars of Jamaica’s thriving musical culture and was among first to bring reggae to a worldwide audience. Born in St James, Jamaica, Cliff moved to Kingston as a teenager and had his first hits, “Hurricane Hattie” and “Dearest Beverley”, with Lesley Kong in 1963, after impressing the producer with an impromptu a cappella performance in Kong’s ice-cream parlour. Their working partnership continued until Kong’s death. Together they produced some of the best known tunes of the ska era, including “Miss Jamaica” and “King of Kings”. It was at the recording sessions for “Miss Jamaica” that Cliff met the young Bob Marley, whom Cliff helped record his first single “Judge Not”. Over the course of the next decades the two went on to create
As Cliff points out: “Today’s reggae music has gone through many formulations. Originally known as ska, it has evolved to “rock steady” to modern reggae, in its different forms”.
After his initial success in Jamaica, Cliff was
invited to join the island’s delegation to the New York World’s Fair in
1965, along with Byron Lee and the Dragonaires. While the trip didn’t
precipitate the explosion of interest in ska that its organizers had hoped, it
did result in the tour film This Is Ska, which bought Jimmy Cliff to the
attention of the head of Island Records, Chris Blackwell. Convinced that the
Jamaican music scene deserved worldwide attention, Blackwell encouraged Cliff to
leave Kingston. His first big success outside of Jamaica was winning the
International Song Festival in Brazil with “Waterfall”, a song taken from
his 1968 debut album Hard Road To Travel.
1969 was the year that Cliff’s early promise was confirmed with the international success of “Wonderful World, Beautiful People”. Along with Jamaican artists such as Max Romeo and Desmond Dekker, Cliff had enormous success in Britain, where “Wonderful World..” reached number six in October. In the USA too, Cliff found an enthusiastic audience and critical acclaim. His second single, the anti-war “Vietnam”, was described by Bob Dylan as the best protest song he’d ever heard; Praise indeed from the best ever protest singer. The 1970 album Wonderful World built on those successes, and his cover of Cat Steven’s “Wild World” saw him back in the UK top ten in August of that year, sharing chart space with Desmond Dekker’s version of Cliff’s own “You Can Get It If You Really Want”.
Sadly, producer Lesley Kong, who had continued to work closely with Cliff, died of a heart attack the following year.
Before his death Kong had been working on the soundtrack to The Harder They Come, starring Jimmy Cliff and featuring several of his songs. Written, directed and produced by Jamaican Perry Henzell, the film featured Cliff as Ivan, an aspiring singer turned to a life of crime after mistreatment at the hands of an unscrupulous record executive. As the gun-toting drug-dealing rudeboy Cliff was an unlikely folk hero and the undoubted star of the film. The Harder They Come was the first internationally successful Jamaican film and raised Cliff’s profile and that of reggae music still further, assisted by the rapid sales and enduring popularity of the fantastic Kong-produced soundtrack album.
The seventies saw Cliff continue to make world-class albums, including a blistering greatest hits collection, Live – In Concert, recorded on tour, a project overseen by Rolling Stones’ producer Andrew Loog Oldham. By the early eighties he had formed a new band – Oneness – and performed several US dates with former Wailer Peter Tosh. His 1983 collaboration with Kool & The Gang resulted in the Grammy-nominated album The Power and the Glory, an achievement bettered in 1985 when the follow-up, Cliff Hanger, won Cliff a Grammy. Film work again gave him a huge US/UK hit with his cover of Johnny Nash’s “I Can See Clearly Now”, featured on the soundtrack to the 1993 Jamaican bobsleigh comedy Cool Runnings. His vocals were also featured with Elton John’s in Disney’s enormously successful The Lion King. He also made a return to acting taking roles in Club Paradise with Robin Williams and Peter O’Toole, and Marked For Death with Stephen Segal.
30 years on from The Harder They Come, (Check out the NPR Feature Report on "The Harder They Come" Jimmy’s music is still as relevant as ever. It’s not only reggae that bears his influence: Cliff has worked with an incredibly diverse range of artists from Erykah Badu and Elvis Costello to Annie Lennox and Wyclef. August, 2004 sees the release of Black Magic, produced by Dave Stewart. Featuring many legendary and contemporary stars, Black Magic sees appearances from Annie Lennox, Sting, Jools Holland, Kool & The Gang, tennis player Yannick Noah, Wyclef Jean and one of the last ever recordings from Joe Strummer.