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HEDLEY JONES: THE EVERYMAN OF JAMAICAN MUSIC!

Hedley Jones is the everyman of Jamaican music. He is the embodiment of the word, having made his mark as engineer, musician and administrator.

The St Catherine-born Jones served as a radar engineer with the Royal Air Force in World War II. Returning to Jamaica in the late 1940s, he opened Bop City, a radio service store on King’s Street in downtown Kingston.

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Jones built amplifiers for early sound systems, including Thomas Wong’s The Great Sebastian. One of his greatest achievements came in 1962 when he helped build producer Clement ‘Coxson’ Dodd’s Studio One studio where countless hit songs were recorded.

Jones also did recording sessions there as a guitarist.

He was vice-president of the Jamaica Federation of Musicians from 1968-85 and president from 1985-95. In 1993, Jones was awarded the Order of Distinction by the Jamaican Government for his contribution to the country’s music.

Hedley Jones receiving his gold Musgrave award

Hedley Jones receiving his gold Musgrave award

Eight years later, he received a Gold Musgrave Medal from the Institute of Jamaica. In 2014, Jones received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA).

Charles Campbell, then a director of JaRIA, acknowledged Jones’ titanic contribution.

“Hedley Jones is one of the pillars on which Jamaican music has evolved. From designing the first Jamaican electric guitar, to building amplifiers, to president of the Jamaica Federation of Musicians, his contribution is immense,” he said.

Now 99, Jones lives in Montego Bay, St James.

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