Jimmy Cliff was reggae’s first international star and remains its greatest living ambassador, having taken the music of Jamaica to all corners of the world. He had hits outside of Jamaica as far back as 1969, when “Wonderful World, Beautiful People” reached Number Six in Britain and Number 25 in the U.S. Yet his career breakthrough came in the Seventies, with the release of the soundtrack to The Harder They Come. That album served as a primer on reggae music for the uninitiated, and half of its tracks were by Jimmy Cliff. They included three songs that have become reggae standards: the ebullient “You Can Get It If You Really Want,” the anthemic “The Harder they Come” and the hymn-like “Many Rivers to Cross.” Jimmy Cliff’s role as a reggae pioneer was celebrated in 2003 with a Deluxe Edition reissue of The Harder They Come and a two-disc Jimmy Cliff Anthology.
“My role has always been as the shepherd of reggae music,” Cliff has noted. “When they wanted to bring reggae to America, they sent Jimmy Cliff. When they wanted to bring reggae to England, they sent Jimmy Cliff. When they wanted to bring reggae to Africa, they sent Jimmy Cliff.”
Jimmy Cliff was inducted into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame on March 15, 2010. Find more info at: www.jimmycliff.com