Number One Deejay: R.I.P. King Stitt, 1940-2012

Words by Jesse Serwer—

The pioneering deejay King Stitt died Tuesday at age 61, his daughter Beverly Spark said. The first deejay to be captured on record, Stitt, born Winston Sparkes, worked under Count Machuki on Coxsone Dodd’s Downbeat Sound System in the 1950s; a decade later, in 1969, he appeared on the first of a handful of recordings from producer Clancy Eccles, including “Fire Corner,” “Herbman” and “Van Cleef” (see links below). Born with a facial disfigurement, Stitt, like many Jamaican deejays after him, turned his physical flaws into a creative asset, dubbing himself The Ugly One, and Lee Van Cleef, after the Good, The Bad and the Ugly actor. An active presence at revival concerts and events until falling ill, Stitt can be seen deejaying in British label Soul Jazz’s The Studio One Story documentary, at bottom. Rest in peace to the boss deejay King Stitt.