The Consummate Vocalist Of The Highest Order
Renowned throughout the world as one of Jamaican’s finest vocalists, John Kenneth Holt was born in Kingston, Jamaica on 11 July 1945. During the early ‘60s, the most popular radio show there was ‘Opportunity Knocks’ aired on Radio Jamaica & Redifusion (RJR), Jamaica’s first and only radio station at the time. Aged 16, John was persuaded to enter their talent contest which he eventually won with Solomon Burke’s ‘Just Out Of Reach’ - going on to win the contest 28 times more. “After winning this contest, my picture appeared in The Gleaner newspaper and a producer named Leslie Kong approached me to do a recording. My mother negotiated the deal for which I got thirty pounds (Jamaica’s currency was then the same as England’s). I wrote the song that I first ever recorded ‘Forever I Will Stay’. On the flipside was ‘I Cried All My Tears’, a song Winston Samuels and I wrote”, John reminisced. He later joined The Paragons as lead singer and proceeded to churn out Reggae anthems at will - one of them being ‘The Tide Is High’ (notably covered by Pop diva Blondie in 1981). And so, to quote an over-used cliché (I’m gonna use it anyway)… the rest is cemented in history..!!
Fast forward to the new millennium and we’ll find that John hasn’t wavered an inch but, continues to make history after so many fruitful years in the business. Ceremoniously, at the Hammersmith Apollo in 2000-2001 and at the Wembley Arena (2002), he became the first Reggae artist to play live in concert with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, a feat that was applauded by all sections of the community.