ISLAND Records’ head honcho Chris Blackwell shares the stories behind his 60-plus-year career with today’s release of his memoir The Islander: My Life In Music And Beyond, which coincides with his 85th birthday and the 60th anniversary of Island Records’ UK arm launch.
Published by Nine Eight Books, the 320-page tome was written by broadcaster and cultural critic Paul Morley who has covered music, art, and entertainment since the 1970s.
The work has been described as a peek into his astonishing life and career in helping to bring reggae music to the world stage while working with Bob Marley, U2, Grace Jones, Cat Stevens, and many other icons.
Blackwell told UK-based entertainment publication Music Week: “It seems a good time to write about the people and musicians I’ve worked with and the places I’ve loved. It’s been quite a trip.”
Blackwell grew up between Jamaica and London, crossing paths with Ian Fleming, Noel Coward, and Errol Flynn. After being expelled from an elite British school for rebellious behaviour in 1954 at 17, he moved back to Jamaica and, within five years, co-founded Island Records.
In addition to Blackwell, Island Records was co-founded by Australian Graeme Goodall and Jamaican Leslie Kong in 1959 before Blackwell brought the label to the UK in 1962. The company represented pioneer reggae acts such as Millie Small, Jimmy Cliff, Toots and The Maytals, and Desmond Dekker, and helped introduce Jamaican music to that market.