The Jamaica Observer’s Entertainment Desk continues with the 12th in its Child Month series highlighting some of Jamaica’s young performers who shot to stardom.
AFTER gaining Independence from Great Britain in August 1962, renditions of Jamaica’s National Anthem were aplenty. However, none spoke to the soul of Jamaicans like that of Jimmy Tucker’s.
Tucker became a household name doing patriotic songs which instilled national pride throughout the fledgling nation. The 79-year-old feels a sense of nostalgia as Jamaica approaches its 60th Independence anniversary on August 6.
“There is a national pride to us. We have come a far way... and we have more ground to cover; we must not shy away from it. We must ensure we have a proper, graceful understanding of who we are as a people... We have a great footstep to make going forward,” the tenor told the Jamaica Observer from his United States base earlier this year.
Impresario Tommy Cowan hails Tucker as a bonafide patriot.
“Before they started making records, Jimmy Tucker used to actually go to the radio stations and sing from the radio station on the microphone there. He used to attend the Lynhurst Methodist Church and he was the ‘Boy Wonder’, and did this famous version of the Lord’s Prayer... He was Jamaica’s first singing star... He was considered as a patriot. He did a lot of patriotic songs. He shared the stage with Nat King Cole, and many of the greats heard him and thought this was the next big thing as a black man. He was also a Christian and had strong personal views on race and politics. He’s the voice of the national anthem,” Cowan added.
Tucker, who emerged during the 1940s from Trench Town in Kingston, is from a talented family. He is uncle to former child star-cum-preacher Junior Tucker and singer Sharon Tucker.
He is also uncle to Marlon Tucker, Jamaica’s most successful cricket captain.
During the 1950s, Jimmy Tucker performed in clubs, schools and churches. It was during these years that he performed music written by Clyde Hoyte, including Have Faith and Sweet as A Dream.
Tucker was recently one of 10 recipients of the prestigious Musgrave Medal Award held virtually. He received a Silver Medal and was lauded as Jamaica’s first singing sensation.
The Musgrave Medal is one of the oldest awards of its kind in the Western Hemisphere.
“I give thanks for this. It is good when you’ve gained a recognition that stands well,” Tucker said.