Toppa Top 50: Fifty Great Jamaicans

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Jackie Mittoo

A child piano prodigy so talented he was taken out of school at 10 to perform for adults, by his late teens Jackie Mittoo had invented rocksteady, changing the course of Jamaican music by slowing down the ska sound he’d helped popularize as the keyboardist for the Skatalites, with his arrangement on Alton Ellis’ “Rocksteady”. Mittoo continued to be one of Jamaican music’s key innovators through his days as musical director at Studio One until his death in 1990.—Jesse Serwer