Joe Higgs: The Father or Godfather of Reggae Music?
by Marcia Higgs
(Boston, Massachusetts, USA)
Joe Higgs | Photo: Jamaica Observer
Joe Higgs was the FIRST singer /musician to emerge out of Trench Town. He taught many who were inspired by his craft.
His students included, but were bot limited to, Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff, Judy Mowatt, Derrick Harriott and Wailing Souls to name a few.
In 1972, he won the Jamaica Tourist Board Competition. The first prize included a trip to NEW YORK, where he performed at the event put on by the Jamaica Tourist Board. Thus, JOE HIGGS became the FIRST Reggae Ambassador to the USA.
Additionally, in 1973 when Bunny Wailer decided to abandon the Wailers' first international tour, Bob Marley asked the BEST replacement he knew... their musical mentor, JOE HIGGS.
For more on this UNSUNG ICON, visit www.JoeHiggs.com
Editor's Note Hi Marcia, This is fascinating! Thanks for the submission.
You might well be right! From what I am able to gather, Joe Higgs indeed is an unsung hero of Jamaican music in his own right.
Hopefully, this mention will ignite some interest and challenge the institutions of reggae music to rightly recognize his efforts!
He also earned several accolades from some of the finest in the industry, including Peter Tosh and Bob Marley!
"Joe Higgs was a brother amongst the Wailers for years. He was encouragement, and he inspired us and kept us together." - Peter Tosh (1976)
"Joe Higgs helped me understand that music. He taught me many tings." - Bob Marley
I also realized that not only did he mentor some of the greats, but he also recorded some of the finest music from Jamaica, including the following singles....
Dinah (Studio One) - 1963
There's A Reward (Studio One) - 1964
Your Love Is (Studio One) - 1964
Change Of Plan
Hurt My Soul
Keep Cool - 1967
Hit Me Back Baby (Camel) - 1969
Mademoiselle (Clandisc) - 1970
Fire Burn w/version (Rupie Edwards All Stars) (Success) - 1970
Burning Fire Version (Joe Higgs & U Roy Jnr.) (Success) - 1970
The World Is Upside Down (Roosevelt) - 1971
World Is Spinning Round (Sioux) - 1972
Lay A Foundation (Blue Mountain) - 1972
Journey To Freedom (Elevation) - 1972
Invitation To Jamaica (Elevation) - 1972
The World Is Upside Down (MCA) - 1973
Wave Of War w/version (Harry J)
Let Us Do Something (Elevation) - 1974
More Slavery (Micron) - 1975
Sincerely (Solomonic) - 1976
Sons Of Garvey (One Stop) - 1979
Devotion (One Stop) - 1979
I Am The Song (The Prophet) (Island)
Worry No More (Island)
Talk To That Man (Solomonic) - 1980
Creation (Ethnic Fight) - 1985
So It Go - 1985
Day O (Shanachie) - 1988
He also collaborated with our musicians to produce a number of timeless music, one of which is captivating... Oh Manny Oh song, with Roy Wilson!
I've included the YouTube video below for my audience.
Video: 'Oh Manny Oh' by Joe Higgs and Roy Wilson
Wikipedia has an extensive biography of him. I implore you to read it when you get a chance.
Or, simply click here and here, to browse my library of over 500 questions and answers! Chances are someone already asked (and got an answer to) your question.
About The Author
A patriotic Jamaican who adores his culture, Wellesley has been using this medium to share what he calls 'the uniqueness of Jamaica with the world' - since April 2007.
To date, he serves over 8,300 unique readers / viewers per day.
His efforts have earned him featured positions in local publications, including the Jamaica Gleaner's Hospitality Jamaica, Carlong Publishers, as well as recognition from numerous prestigious international agencies and universities.