An Unauthorized Biography
published 2012 • 6" x 9" • 229 pages • b&w photos
ISBN 9781566568692 • paperback • $17.00 •
"James Chambers, later to become the renowned Jimmy Cliff, grew up in a poor Jamaican village without running water or electricity, but had the good fortune of being born to supportive parents. When it was time for him to move to Kingston, he was given a choice: school or a radio. He chose the radio. In this meticulously annotated... biography, reggae historian David Katz (Solid Foundation: An Oral History of Reggae) charts the implications of that choice and Cliff's rise as a performer. Katz dutifully recounts Cliff's career, from his early performances, first recordings and a star-making part in The Harder They Come to African tours and high-profile appearances in movies like Club Paradise and Marked for Death.... He is quick to note Cliff's chart positions and cultural importance... Those familiar with Cliff's body of work will likely find the recording and touring minutiae to be of value..."
"David Katz has given life to a complex individual and written a well-researched and easily readable portrait of one of the giants in the world of music."
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A fascinating account of the life and times of Jamaican rock icon
One of Jamaica’s most prolific and innovative performers and a recent inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Jimmy Cliff has been hailed as the first true superstar of Jamaican music. As a uniquely talented singer-songwriter, he is one of the first artists responsible for disseminating reggae music to a global audience. With over 25 studio albums to his name, Cliff is the only living musician to hold the Order of Merit for his contributions to Jamaican culture. But the road to international acclaim has not been a straightforward one. Born James Chambers into an underdeveloped country town near Jamaica’s north coast, Cliff has battled poverty, controversy, and prejudice—indeed, his starring role as Ivan in the ground-breaking film The Harder They Come drew on aspects of Jimmy’s own youthful experiences.
David Katz is author of People Funny Boy: The Genius of Lee “Scratch” Perry and Solid Foundation: An Oral History of Reggae.
"...meticulously annotated...reggae historian David Katz...recounts Cliff's career, from his early performances, first recordings and a star-making part in The Harder They Come to African tours and high-profile appearances..."
"Every country has its contributions to international culture, and Jimmy Cliff has gone beyond the call of duty. Jimmy Cliff: An Unauthorized Biography follows the Jamaican Rock Icon who has produced nearly thirty albums and has gained national honors in his own country, and is well known to hardcore rock and roll followers everywhere. Telling his personal story as well as the story of his music, Jimmy Cliff is a strong pick for anyone who wants to learn about this important musician."
—Midwest Book Review
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