May 9, 2004 by

Coxsone Dodd


Categories: Musicians

Clement Seymour “Sir Coxsone” Dodd, a legendary Jamaican music producer, died on May 4 of a heart attack. He was 72.
Dodd left Jamaica as a young man to cut sugar cane in Florida. Exposed to the sounds of American jazz and R&B, he immediately started collecting records from a wide variety of artists. When he returned to Kingston, Dodd decided to enter the music business as a sound system operator and producer. He founded his own record company, World Disc, and began distributing singles on a variety of labels. In 1963, he opened Studio One, the first black-owned recording studio in Jamaica.
One of the first acts Dodd signed was The Skatalites, a band that fused the blues, R&B, jazz, mento, calypso and African rhythms to create the unique sound known as ska. He also launched numerous reggae artists, such Freddie McGregor, Lee “Scratch” Perry and Burning Spear.
Dodd was best known for signing The Juveniles to a five-year contract and hiring professional musicians to help them improve their skills. Under his guidance, the band — which was fronted by a young singer named Bob Marley — changed its name to The Wailers and released several albums featuring songs that became reggae classics (“Simmer Down,” “One Love”). Dodd also served as a father figure to Marley, offering him a job in the studio and a place to sleep when he couldn’t afford to pay his rent.
During the 1970s and ’80s, Dodd released instrumental reggae albums and recorded hit tracks with artists like Willie Williams and Michigan & Smiley. When violence erupted during the 1980 Jamaican election campaign, the neighborhood where Dodd recorded turned into a war zone. Unable to function in such an environment, he relocated to Brooklyn, N.Y., and opened the record store, Coxsone’s Music City.
Dodd released over 10,000 singles, and is considered by many in the business to be the founding father of popular Jamaican music. He received the Order of Distinction, Jamaica’s third highest honor, in 1991 for his contribution to the island’s musical heritage.

3 Responses to Coxsone Dodd

  1. benny claeysier

    Thank you mister Dodd for bringing all those fine music. Music that has made the world a little more peacefull. I’m only 21 years old but I have heard and loved many of your works produced on the studio one label. I hope that your family and friends you left behind know how much you have influenced the youth (and still nowadays) in a positive way. Sir coxsone’s downbeat will be playing forever in everybody’s heart. Jah bless!

  2. Ruth

    I have listened to reggae for most of life & the studio hits have definitely been my favorite segment of the music. Mr Dodd there no way to thank you for your insight t know what this type of music could do to the soul.
    You will be greatly missed but you have left a wonderful legacy not only for the Jamaican people but for the world.
    Studio one forever!!!!

  3. caleb

    This should be of interest to those lovers of Reggae music. Coxsone influenced and started the careers of numerous Jamaican recording artists, many have gone onto achieve international fame..some of these singersincluding Burning Spear, Delroy Wilson, Dennis Brown and Alton Ellis are showing in a British photo exhibition at OOM Gallery called ‘MUZIK KINDA SWEET’. The phographer Pogus Caesar has assembled an impressive collection of over 40 images. Much respect.

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