Roots | Clement ‘Sir Coxsone’ Dodd

Irie Magazine | Roots | Sir Coxsone

Roots | Clement ‘Sir Coxsone’ Dodd

May 5, 2004

Photography By: UrbanImage.TV

Clement Seymour ‘Sir Coxsone’ Dodd CD (January 26, 1932 – May 5, 2004) was a Jamaican record producer who was influential in the development of ska and reggae in the 1950s, 1960s and beyond.

Born in Kingston, Jamaica, he was nicknamed ‘Coxsone’ at school due to his talent as a cricketer (his friends compared him to Alec Coxon, a member of the 1940s Yorkshire County Cricket Club team).

Dodd began recording artists in 1956 and by the early 1960’s, he was producing ska hits by Toots and the Maytals, the Gaylads, and Jamaica’s premier ska group, the Skatalites.

In 1959 he founded a record company called World Disc. 1962 he produced the Jazz record “I cover the waterfront” on the Port-O-Jam label, two of the musicians who played on the album, Roland Alphonso, and Don Drummond, became founding members of the Skatalites one year later.

In October 1963, Dodd opened Studio One at 13 Brentford Road, Kingston, the site of the nightclub, The End. It was the first black-owned recording studio in Jamaica. He held regular Sunday evening auditions in search of new talent, and it was here that Dodd auditioned Bob Marley, singing as a part of The Wailers.

Studio One would become one of Jamaica’s most renowned record labels and recording studios, having been described as the Motown of Jamaica. The record label was involved with most of the major music movements in Jamaica during the 1960s and 1970s including ska, rocksteady, reggae, dub, and dancehall.

Dodd’s ‘You’re Wondering Now’, was initially recorded in 1964 by Andy & Joey in Jamaica and later covered by The Skatalites, The Specials, and Amy Winehouse; it was also used as the theme tune for the British-French crime drama television series Death in Paradise.

In 1968, when Rock-steady emerged, Dodd had recordings by the Abyssinians, Marcia Griffiths, Bob Andy and the Heptones. Dodd helped advanced Dennis Brown’s career in the early 1970’s. In 1979, Dodd produced new material with dancehall singers Sugar Minott, Freddy McGregor and Johnny Osbourne, to name a few.

In 1991, Dodd was the recipient of the Order of Distinction, Jamaica’s third highest honor. In 2002 Dodd was awarded a Gold Musgrave Medal by the Institute of Jamaica.

Sir Coxsone continued to be active in the music industry into his seventies, and on May 1, 2004, Kingston’s Brentford Road was renamed Studio One Boulevard in a ceremony which paid tribute to his accomplishments as a producer. He died suddenly of a heart attack four days later, at the age of 72, while working at Studio One. He was survived by his wife, Norma, who passed away in 2010.

Irie