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Jimmy Cliff cover by M Peggy Quattro

Singer Jimmy Cliff Interview 1986 – Reggae History

Jimmy Cliff…. Just Playing His Part

By M. Peggy Quattro   V4#2 1986

Jimmy Cliff
Jimmy Cliff at his New Kingston home * © M Peggy Quattro 1986

Prelude 2020:  Jimmy Cliff plays an important part in my evolutionary journey inside  Reggae and Reggae Report.  He was the first Reggae artist I ever heard in 1976 and became my first Reggae friend while working with Don Taylor in 1981. When the magazine took off in ’83, Jimmy most kindly invited me to stay at his home whenever I went to Kingston to conduct business. He wasn’t there most of those times but my hospitable friend Shiela and their young sons, Sayeed and Hassan, were. ♥ This interview  – and accompanying cover shot for V4#2 – were done with Jimmy at his New Kingston home in 1986. ↓


Jimmy Cliff is, without a doubt, the most internationally known Reggae artist alive. In more than 20 years in the music arena, this active, talented youth from Somerton, St. James, Jamaica, has developed exemplary discipline and staying power.

The Early Days

Jimmy CliffAt age 14, James Chambers left for Kingston. But following his first recording, “Daisy Got Me Crazy,” in 1962, James Chambers became Jimmy Cliff – teenage Ska star! Under the wing of famed producer Leslie Kong, Jimmy Cliff skyrocketed to early success with “Hurricane Hattie.” He toured the Caribbean and performed at New York’s 1964 World’s Fair before moving to England to seek his fame and fortune.

Even before his involvement in the sensational cult film The Harder They Come, Jimmy racked up several international hits in his early years, including “Wonderful World” and “Vietnam.” He toured and thrilled audiences in South America, England, and Europe. Continue reading