words by Eddie STATS Houghton
Just a week or two short of his 62nd born-day, Jamaican music and film icon Jimmy Cliff was honored by the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame last month, welcomed aboard by super-fan Wyclef Jean at it’s 25th annual induction ceremony. One of those ageless spirits that define the word ‘spry’, Cliff tore through a performance of his equally timeless hit “The Harder They Come” in between sets from fellow inductees Iggy Pop and ABBA.
Beaming but humble throughout, Cliff made a special point of showing his gratitude toward the rock institution for it’s recognition of a reggae star but truthfully, this is just one more accolade for the honorable Dr. James Chambers, OM–the only living holder of Jamaica’s Order of Merit–who bust into the global imagination some 35 years ago with a song on his lips and a star on his chest.
The good doctor also passed through the offices of our cohorts at FADER magazine this week to chop it up a little on the video below. At the risk of sounding my own air-horn (I’ve been a contributing editor there for the last few years) it’s worth mentioning that FADER has been one of the few general-music mags to consistently recognize dancehall and Caribbean music in general. Worth mentioning mostly because I just happen to have inside info that the next issue will feature a very different Jamaican icon on both covers! That’s all I can say, if I told you any more I’d have to kill your soundboy.