Thursday, October 23, 2014

John Holt... Another Messenger in the Choir of Reggae Angels

Sixty Nine years among us but timeless in his artistic impact. Yes. He aspired to... and attained greatness as an ambassador of the universal phenomenon which is the power of the music of Love. John was truly a Paragon... A model of excellence in his craft. When he spoke he reminded us of the responsibility to project in our lives and in our work, that positivity that comes from a constructive Vibe. When he wrote he used the power of his poetry to communicate that constructive wonderfullness that love endows us with. On stage he was the consummate messenger. His was a voice so appealing, so un-strained, so unrestrained in its virtuosity, so mellifluous... indeed a thing of musical and rhythmic beauty. It is no wonder that he inspired so many... and was imitated by so many.

Measured by the "Hits" he made, there was none greater in the arena of Reggae music. Expressed in terms of his electrifying impact, we experience "a thousand volts of Holt" in hits like: 'Ali Baba', 'Stick By Me', 'Love I Can Feel', 'Memories By The Score', 'My Heart Is Gone', 'Police In Helicopter', 'Stealing Stealing', 'The Tide Is High'... just to name a few. Born in Greenwich Farm, Kingston 13, Jamaica (where I grew up), his contribution was seminal in the development of Jamaican music. The appeal of his body of work was universal, as songs like 'The Tide Is High' were reproduced to great acclaim by a number of international artists. It is true that the richness of John Holt's work made many rich, not just in terms of his soulful appeal, but the economic benefits of that appeal. 'The Tide Is High' sold millions all over the world. John had a string of number one hits in the history of Jamaican music longer than any of his peers.

This boy from Greenwich Farm, Kingston 13, Jamaica, went on to perform on the greatest stages in the world. His concert with the London Philharmonic Orchestra was a thing of beauty. And now he takes his place with the Choir of Reggae Angels. He joins Bob and Dennis and Peter and Gregory and Cynthia and Hortense and Jacob... and all those who now make up that distinguished Chorus. In tribute to them we make this request of those who seek to walk in their shoes : 

“Sing us a song... Like a morning in Spring
Play us a tune... That warm sunshine will bring
Wake us up... With words so warm
Sing us a song... That will sound the alarm
Of all… all… all… All of our senses

Sing us a song... Like a mid-day sun
Play us a tune... With a heated exclamation
Inspire us to seek... Shade from the warmth
Sing us a song... That will bring out the charm
Of all… all… all... All of our senses

Sing us a song... Like a Summer sunset
Play us a tune... That will make us forget
The many seasons... Of our discontentment
Sing us a song... That vibrates with the rhythms
Of the horizons… the horizons...
The horizons of love"

(Adapted from the poem 'For All My Seasons' from the book 'Of Scattered Seed and Broken Souls)


  1. Yes! Great tribute!! The words and melody of artists like this transcend the noise and rhetoric of our current existence.


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