Studio One's colourful legacy on showFriday, January 31, 2020
By Rory Daley
DESCRIBED as Jamaica's Motown, Studio One and its founder Clement “Sir Coxson” Dodd, made an indelible mark on Jamaican music. On Tuesday evening, a mural dedicated to Dodd was unveiled at the studio's headquarters at Studio One Boulevard in Kingston.
The artwork was done by United Kingdom–based artist Andrew Parle.
“It was more of a case of me being a vessel for putting their ideas onto the wall and that's how it all came about, really,” Parle told the Jamaica Observer's Splash.
A friend of the Dodd family, Parle began his career as a graffiti artist, then transitioned into commercial and residential mural work. The spray-painted piece took about four weeks to complete and features the likeness of Dodd and many famous artistes from Studio One.
“I knew quite a bit about some of the artistes, being a fan of reggae and dancehall myself and a collector of records. I won't lie, I didn't know who all the artistes who come from Studio One. I'm sure not even every Jamaican knows that, but with Mr Dodd, I knew little bits of information,” said Parle. “Since I started doing the mural it was amazing learning, speaking to some of the older artistes and learning some of the stories and knowing how much love and respect he had from people, so it wasn't just showing up painting a mural. It was a journey in itself,” he added.
Opened in 1963, Studio One was the first black-owned recording studio in Jamaica. Dodd held Sunday evening auditions in search of new talent; these sessions discovered The Wailers whose early hit songs were recorded there.
In the early 1960s, Dodd produced ska hits by Toots and The Maytals, The Gaylads, and The Skatalites.
Dodd's production of You're Wondering Now was initially recorded in 1964 by Andy and Joey and later covered by The Skatalites, The Specials and Amy Winehouse. It is also used as theme song for the British-French television series Death in Paradise.
In 2004, Dodd's contribution to music was recognised with the renaming of Brentford Road as Studio One Boulevard. Former Member of Parliament for St Andrew Southern Omar Davies, who was instrumental in that change, was present for the unveiling along with members of the music fraternity.
Current MP, Mark Golding addressed the audience.
“This is, of course, a significant location in the constituency, Studio One. The constituency is very rich in its cultural heritage and Studio One was one of the diamonds, and Mr Dodd, obviously has been a great pioneer of Jamaican music, and is a cultural icon,” Golding said.
He also spoke on behalf of former Prime Minister PJ Patterson.
“The decision to honour the memory of Sir Coxson Dodd in a visible way is both timely and due as we celebrate that unique genre of music which has the indelible stamp of our finest musical brand and has truly earned the respect of musicologists and dancers alike,” read Golding from Patterson's letter.
Born in 1932, Dodd died of a heart attack on May 4 2004 at age 72.
He was posthumously awarded the Order of Distinction, in 2007 for service to the Jamaican music industry.
Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login