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JAMAICAN MUSIC PIONEERS WITHOUT NATIONAL HONORS!

 Kenneth Khouri—-

Vere Johns … His Opportunity Hour and Opportunity Knocks shows were the Rising Star contests of the 1950s and 1960s.

They helped launch the careers of Alton Ellis, Lloyd Charmers, John Holt, Bob Andy, Desmond Dekker, The Wailers, Jackie Edwards, Dobby Dobson, Boris Gardiner, Millie Small, Jimmy Cliff, the Blues Busters, Derrick Morgan, Lascelles Perkins, Higgs and Wilson, Bunny and Skully, Laurel Aitken, Jimmy Tucker and Rico Rodriguez.

Johns, who worked at the Gleaner for many years, died in 1966 at age 72.

Vere Johns

Vere Johns

STEPHEN Hill was another outstanding show promoter. From a respected sports/political family, he ran Celebrity Concerts for over 30 years.

That company promoted Jamaican events headlined by American opera singers Marion Anderson and Paul Robeson; soul artistes Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, Fats Domino, Jackie Wilson, The Drifters and Marvin Gaye; as well as jazz greats Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Sarah Vaughn.

Hill died in 1995.

Stephen Hill with rocker Chubby Checker!

Stephen Hill (right) with rocker Chubby Checker!

KENNETH Khouri is one of the fathers of Jamaican music. He was the first to manufacture records in Jamaica, making 45 rpms on a second-hand recording machine he bought in Miami, during the late 1940s.

Of Lebanese heritage, Khouri also produced songs by calypsonians Lord Flea, and later opened Federal Records which was Jamaica’s leading distributor and recording facility for several years.

Kenneth Khouri died in 2003.

Inner Circle

Inner Circle

INNER Circle…formed in 1968, the band retains two of its original members, guitarist Roger Lewis and bass player Ian Lewis, his younger brother.

The band had a number of hit songs in the 1970s with singer Jacob Miller who died in 1980. They roared back in the early 1990s with the hits Bad Boys and Sweat and won a Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album.

Now based in Miami, Inner Circle still records and tours.

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