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Harry J, the Liquidator, dies

Friday, April 05, 2013 | 10:33 AM    

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KINGSTON, Jamaica - Harry Johnson, the former insurance salesman who became one of reggae's top producers in the 1970s, died Wednesday at age 68.

Johnson reportedly died at the Savanna-La-Mar Hospital in his native Westmoreland.

Johnson had battled diabetes for many years.

Popularly known as Harry J, Johnson had several big hits in the late 1960s and early 1970s, notably ‘Liquidator’ by the Harry J All Stars and ‘Young, Gifted and Black’ done by Bob Andy and Marcia Griffiths.

Liquidator's opening guitar riff inspired the Staples Singers' classic hit ‘I'll Take You There’.

Johnson also produced singer Lorna Bennett's sultry ‘Breakfast in Bed’ and ‘Book of Rules’ by the Heptones.

In the early 1980s, he produced Sheila Hylton's cover of the Police's ‘The Bed's Too Big Without You’.

The Harry J Studios in Kingston was also a popular recording spot in the 1970s. Bob Marley and The Wailers recorded their first four Island Records albums at the studio.

- Howard Campbell

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