Thursday, 6 October 2016

Tighten Up: The Story Of Trojan Records - 4. Episode 4

BBC Radio 6 Music broadcast: 26th August 2016

Don Letts concludes the story of the influential UK-based record label that helped Jamaican music reach a wider audience.

Trojan Records is known as reggae's Motown and had a huge hand in introducing Jamaican music to the British public. In it's hey-day of the late 60's to the mid 70's, Trojan chalked up nearly 30 hit singles, released the legendary Tighten Up compilation series and launched Jamaican acts in the UK such as Jimmy Cliff, John Holt, Ken Boothe, Bob and Marica, and Dave and Ansel Collins. The huge volume of records they released in this period made the name Trojan synonymous with classic rocksteady and reggae cuts. In 1970 alone, Trojan released 500 singles, selling over 1.5 million records.

This series tells not just the story of Trojan Records, but also reveals how Jamaican music arrived in the UK. Discover how it all began with Duke Reid's Trojan sound system in Jamaica, and how the influx of young Jamaicans into post-war Britain kickstarted a reggae scene in the UK. Find out how the British skinheads then made ska and reggae popular in the British charts (when the BBC wasn't listening!) and how the music adapted to UK tastes to become number one sellers. We reveal why the whole empire inexplicably came crashing down too, only for punk and Two-Tone to give it a resurgence, helping confirm Trojan as one of the coolest and most important labels for reggae music.

With contributions from Ken Boothe, Bunny Lee, BB Seaton, Derrick Harriot, Dandy Livingstone, John Holt, Ansel Collins, Rico Rodriguez, Bob Andy, Derrick Morgan and many more.

First broadcast in 2006.

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