Reggae legend John Holt dies

The reggae legend John Holt has died at the age of 69.

John was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1945 (not 1947 as is most commonly listed) and by the age of 12 he was regularly entering Jamaican talent contests. One of the shows led him to record with the reggae producer Lesley Kong and in 1963 recorded his first single I Cried a Tear.

Later in the decade he formed the Paragons and wrote a stack of songs which they recorded with another reggae producer Duke Reid. His most famous songs have been covered with a great deal of success firstly in 1979 when Errol Dunkley took his song O.K Fred to number 11 and then by Blondie and Atomic Kitten who both took The Tide Is high to the top of the UK chart. Musical Youth took his song Tell Me Why into the top 40 in 1983 and king of the covers, UB40 also made the top 40 with Wear You to the Ball.

In 1970, He left the Paragons to focus on his solo career, and soon became one of the biggest names in reggae especially after he released the critically acclaimed album A Thousand Volts of Holt.

John had been battling ill health for some time now and seems to have worsened since August when he collapsed on stage at the One Love Concert in England. He’d been in a London hospital ever since.

His only UK hit was a cover of Kris Kristofferson’s song Help Me Make It Through The Night but his smooth lilting voice did justice to many of the songs he covered with a real favourite being on Never Never Never.

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