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Tribute to John Holt

Tribute to John Holt

Tribute to John Holt

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John Holt Memories by the Score.

Born Winston Holt in humble circumstances in Greenwich Farm, Kingston; the world would later know him as John Holt; a talented singer, superb performer and charming gentlemen on and off the stage. His talent separated him from his peers at the early age of twelve as a regular participant at popular singing contests held by Vere Johns. He recorded a few I Cried a Tear and Forever I’ll Say for Leslie Kong and VincentRandy’ Chin, then progressed to joining The Paragons and the then members Bob Andy, Junior Menz, Tyrone Evans and Howard Barrett in 1964. Throughout the groups illustrious career he sang lead on many of their greatest hits. His voice is evident as lead singer in Happy Go Lucky, On the Beach, Smiling Face, Wear You to the Ball and Man Next Door. His song The Tide is High though well received locally was revived and became an international hit when it was covered by Blondie in the 80’s. This gave Holt additional and well deserved recognition on the international stage. Yet another of his timeless hits was Stick by Me for producer Bunny Lee.

John HoltJohn continued to have a successful solo career after leaving the Paragons and venturing out on his own. Backed by the Roots Radics Band he had major success in the 80’s with Sweetie Come Brush Me, Queen of the Ghetto, and Police in Helicopter. These songs helped to keep his name relevant and constantly on the lips of his loyal fans. His album, 1000 Volts of Holt is a masterpiece and is still regarded as one of his finest work.

London could be considered his second home, with possibly his largest fan base outside of Jamaica. Songs such as Again, Tell me Why, Time is the Master, Jam in the Street, and I Sing My Song are considered anthems for John’s fans in the United Kingdom. Though he only toured Europe for the first time in 2012 he quickly realized the impact he had made when he appeared on some of Europe’s major summer festival including Garance Reggae Festival and Rototom Sunsplash. His former manager, Copeland Forbes, said John did not realize how popular he or his songs were in Europe until he performed Police in Helicopter on stage. The reaction of the crowd anywhere he sang it, made him realize how respected he was in Europe.

In a recent interview on Bess FM Real Rock program, Howard Barrett commented that, “John Holt was one of the greatest singers to come out of Jamaica”. John Holt impressed all who saw him perform with his ability to give two hours of singing and another hour of acapella and still have more songs in his catalogue to have the crowd asking for more.

Several debates will be had about what was the highlight of John Holt’s career but in Lloyd Parks’ (band leader of Lloyd Parks & We the People Band) mind there is no doubt. In his recent interview on Real Rock he stated that John’s performance with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra live at the Apollo Theatre in London was the epitomy of his illustrious career. Dressed in a tuxedo, and backed by a full orchestra, in addition to Lloyd Parks and The We the People Band, John Holt thrilled the audience along with his special guest Freddie McGregor.

John Holt passed away in London on October 19, 2014 at the age of sixty nine (69). On November 17th at Holy Trinity Cathedral Church, Kingston the final curtain will be drawn on the illustrious career of one of Jamaica’s musical icons.

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Posted by Frank on 11.11.2014
Sir John,

Thank you for the memories and God speed.

Comments actually desactivated due to too much spams

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