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Jimmy Cliff

St. Catherine, Jamaica (1962 – present)

Jimmy Cliff OM (> Jamaican Order of Merit) born as James Chambers (1 April 1948, St. Catherine, Jamaica) is a Jamaican reggae musician. He is best known among mainstream audiences for songs like “Sittin’ in Limbo”, “You Can Get It If You Really Want,” “Many Rivers to Cross” and the title track from The Harder They Come, a film soundtrack which helped popularise reggae across the world.

Cliff moved to Kingston in 1962. After he released two singles that failed to make much of an impression, his career took off when his “Hurricane Hattie” became a hit, while he was aged just 14; it was produced by Leslie Kong, with whom Cliff would remain until Kong’s death. Later local hit singles included “King of Kings”, “Dearest Beverley” and “Pride and Passion”. In 1964, Cliff was chosen as one of the Jamaican representatives at the World’s Fair, and Cliff soon signed to Island Records and moved to Britain. Island initially (and unsuccessfully) tried to sell Cliff to the rock audience, but his career took off in the late 1960s. His international debut album was Hard Road to Travel, which received excellent reviews and included “Waterfall”, a Brazilian hit that won the International Song Festival.

“Waterfall” was followed in 1969 by “Wonderful World, Beautiful People” and “Vietnam” in 1970, both popular throughout most of the world. Folk rock singer-songwriter Bob Dylan even called “Vietnam” the best protest song he’d ever heard. Wonderful World included a cover of Cat Stevens’ “Wild World”, which was a success in 1970.

Jimmy Cliff, OM (born James Chambers, 1 April 1948) is a Jamaican reggae musician, multi-instrumentalist, singer and actor. He is the only living musician to hold the Order of Merit, the highest honour that can be granted by the Jamaican government for achievements in the arts and sciences.

Cliff is best known among mainstream audiences for songs such as "Wonderful World, Beautiful People", "The Harder They Come", "Sitting in Limbo", "You Can Get It If You Really Want" and "Many Rivers to Cross" from the soundtrack to The Harder They Come, which helped popularize reggae across the world, and his covers of Cat Stevens' "Wild World" and Johnny Nash's "I Can See Clearly Now" from the film Cool Runnings. He starred in the film The Harder They Come. Cliff was one of five performers inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.

One of the great popularizers of reggae music, Cliff was raised by his father and moved to Kingston in 1962 to fulfil his musical dreams.To this day he has become one of the top names in reggae music with hits such as "John Crow", "Vietnam", Reggae Night" and "Many Rivers to Cross".

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