Jimmy Cliff adopted his role as reggae ambassador at an impressively young age. He was just 14 when his 1962 single “Hurricane Hattie” became a hit in his native Jamaica, inspiring Desmond Dekker and Bob Marley to come and audition for Cliff’s label Beverley’s.
Cliff would have to wait a further seven years for his international breakthrough, but when it arrived, singles such as “Wonderful World, Beautiful People” and “Many Rivers To Cross” helped to establish reggae as a major musical force.
Cliff sealed his superstar status by starring in – and penning the memorable title song for – The Harder They Come, the quintessential reggae film. Along the way, he’s been endorsed by Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and The Rolling Stones, as well as being awarded the Jamaican Order Of Merit.
Produced by Tim Armstrong of Rancid, 2012’s Rebirth album was a rousing return to form – and the 71-year-old continues to shrug off such minor inconveniences as a broken hip to carry on touring, including an appearance at East Sussex’s Love Supreme festival this July.
So what do you want to ask the ambassador of reggae? Email your questions to us at firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday May 22 and Jimmy will answer the best ones in a future issue of Uncut.
The July 2019 issue of Uncut is on sale from May 16, and available to order online now – with The Black Keys on the cover. Inside, you’ll find David Bowie, The Cure, Bruce Springsteen, Rory Gallagher, The Fall, Jake Xerxes Fussell, PP Arnold, Screaming Trees, George Harrison and more. Our 15-track CD also showcases the best of the month’s new music, including PJ Harvey, Peter Perrett, Black Peaches, Calexico And Iron & Wine and Mark Mulcahy.