Dudley Sibley laid the foundation
Dudley Sibley

THIS year marks the 60th anniversary of Clement "Coxsone" Dodd establishing Studio One at Brentford Road in Kingston. The complex is as storied as Motown Records' Hitsville USA facility in Detroit.

One of the persons who literally built Studio One as an artiste and construction worker was Dudley Sibley, a St Mary-born singer who was among the company's early acts.

In several interviews he recalled how he helped in the construction of Studio One, starting in 1962. Previously a nightclub, Dodd purchased the location and reconfigured it to suit the horn-hooked songs he began producing in 1954.

Sibley's first songs, such as Things Are Not Right and Gunman, were recorded at Studio One during the mid-1960s. The latter became his signature song while Run Boy Run and Love in Our Nation earned him a following in Europe.

During his early years at Studio One, Sibley met another aspiring artiste named Robert Marley, who became world-famous during the 1970s as Bob Marley. He recounted his friendship with the future reggae king many times, including in Marley, the acclaimed 2012 documentary about the singer-songwriter.

Kevin Macdonald, director of that film, told The New York Times that Sibley was critical to its success.

"He lived with Bob for 18 months in the back of Studio One. No one ever thought to talk to this guy. My researcher in Jamaica said to me, 'Oh, by the way, there's this guy I've met who says he lived with Bob.' I said, 'Oh, yeah, yeah. I don't believe that.' But I met him — and he was for real," Macdonald told The Times.

Dudley Sibley died on July 30 last year at his home in St Andrew. He was 74 years old.

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