Where Bob Marley succeeded in breaking the international market, the equally talented Jimmy Cliff never became the superstar many expected. Despite this shocking oversight on the part of the general public, Cliff's catalogue is one of the finest in Jamaican music and he has remained a remarkably consistent performer all the way into the new millennium. After a string of local hits for Leslie Kong in the mid-60s, Cliff was signed to the Island Records label and moved to the UK. Two fine albums in the late 60s spawned the hits Wonderful World, Beautiful People, Viet Nam, while a non-album version of Cat Stevens' Wild World reached the UK Top 10 in 1970. In 1972 Cliff starred in the brilliant movie The Harder They Come, and five of his songs (including the classic Many Rivers To Cross) appeared on the soundtrack. While this should have pushed Cliff on to the next stage of his career, the appearance of Marley pushed him down the list of Island's priorities and his career never really recovered. A conversion to Islam also alienated some sections of his prospective audience. What never dipped was Cliff's creative output, and he continued to release fine albums and deliver stunning live shows throughout subsequent decades. He is now rightly considered one of Jamaican music's living legends.
Followers: Shaggy, Shabba Ranks, Wayne Wonder, Joe Jackson, Lucky Dube, Eric Burdon
Influenced By: Laurel Aitken, The Wailers, Smokey Robinson...