Wild Gilbert: 25 years later

The song that blew Jamaica's mind

BY KEVIN JACKSON Observer Writer

Sunday, September 01, 2013

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IN the aftermath of arguably the most devastating natural disaster to hit Jamaica, Lloyd Lovindeer was inspired to write the song that became the biggest hit of his career.

That song, Wild Gilbert, was released in late-September 1988, just days after the Category Five Hurricane Gilbert smashed the country, killing 45 persons and leaving hundreds homeless.

"I was surprised that the song took off the way it did because at the time there were other Gilbert songs released before mine. But Wild Gilbert was huge," Lovindeer, 65, recalled last week during an interview with the Sunday Observer.

Wild Gilbert is one of the fastest-selling singles in Jamaica, reportedly selling over 200,000 copies. Lovindeer, a former Kingston College student, had a few minor hits prior to Wild Gilbert.

"Babylon Boops which came out in 1986, was my biggest hit up to that point. I also had other hits like Don't Bend Down and Man Shortage," he said.

Babylon Boops was his response to deejay Super Cat's smash hit song Boops. Its impact was nothing compared to the runaway success of Wild Gilbert.

Lovindeer vividly remembers what he was doing when the hurricane hit.

"I was inside the house watching what was going on, on the outside, when the idea for the song hit me. My satellite dish was destroyed during the hurricane. It was an experience."

He still resides in that house at Hope Road in St Andrew.

Wild Gilbert was recorded at Dynamic Sounds in Kingston with the Riddim Kings as backing band and Lovindeer as producer.

The rib-tickling number gave Lovindeer a national profile and set the pace for follow-up hits like Pocomania Day, which he did with Chalice.

Lovindeer was born in Kingston but moved to Ewarton, St Catherine shortly after his parents migrated to England. He returned to Kingston at age 12.

After leaving KC, he got involved in music when he and friends formed the Fabulous Flames song-and-dance group.

Their first recording, done in 1971, was a cover of Neil Diamond's Holly Holy produced by Clancy Eccles.

After the Fabulous Flames split, Lovindeer moved to Canada, where he lived from 1976 to 1982.

Back in Jamaica, he released The Blinking Bus, his first solo recording, on his TSOJ label.

Lovindeer is busy completing The Land of The One Love People, a double album scheduled for release at the end of this month.

It has collaborations with Judy Mowatt, Kip Rich, Goddy Goddy, Singing Melody, Tarrus Riley and Lady G.

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