Jimmy Cliff


Jamaican Performing & Recording Artists

Date of Birth (DOB): 7/30/44
From: Jamaica
Best Known for: "The Harder they Come"

Bio: Born James Chambers in Adelphi Land, St. James, Jamaica to Lilbert Chambers and Christine Chambers. Cliff moved to Kingston in 1962 to pursue a career in music. At 14, Cliff walked into a record shop and sang an acappella a tune he had written called Dearest Beverly inspiring the record producer/ owner of the shop, Leslie Kong to record it along with Cliffs first local number-one hit, Hurricane Hattie.

Cliff met Bob Marley at Federal Studios while recording Miss Jamaica, and helped him record his first tune, Judge Not. In 1964 Cliff joined Byron Lee and the Dragonaires as their vocalist on a tour organized by local politician Edward Seaga to promote the Jamaica with its the popular Ska music. Cliff met producer Chris Blackwell at a performance at the New York Worlds Fair.

Blackwell had just scored an International hit with Millie Smalls song Lollipop and convinced Cliff to move to London in 1965. Cliff recorded Wonderful World Beautiful People and Wild Wild World for Blackwells Island records. He also wrote You Can Get it if You Really Want, for Desmond Decker.

Cliff returned to Jamaica at the end of 1969 and recorded Many Rivers to Cross, which inspired Jamaican filmmaker Percy Henzell to offer him the lead role as a gun toting, drug selling rude boy in the 1970s cult classic, The Harder They Come.

The film made Cliff a major star in Europe, Africa, and Latin America and introduced him to U.S. listeners. He would later act with Robin Williams Club Paradise, and Stephen Segal in Marked For Death.

Cliff is working on a sequel to The Harder They Come. He has released 22 albums; in 1982 he was awarded the Norman Manley Award for Excellence in the field of Music, Order of Distinction and in 1985 Cliff won the Grammy Award for Reggae. Born James Chambers, Jimmy Cliff made yet another transition joining the Islamic faith to become Naim Bashir. He has 4 sons,3 daughters and enjoys Sports, Reading and Meditation.

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