JLP Expresses Sorrow at John Holt's Death
Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Spokesperson on Culture, Olivia “Babsy” Grange, has expressed profound sorrow at the passing of Jamaican reggae star, John Holt.
In a statement issued last night, Sunday, October 19, Miss Grange said that despite the fact that Holt was known to have been seriously ill for several weeks in London, his death still came as a shock to her and, no doubt, to his many fans who have prayed that he would overcome this latest challenge and return to the stage.
“It was a shock to me and has left me in pure grief, because I was among those who had hoped that he would pull through and return to delivering his distinctive brand, making records and doing concerts and tours, this he has done with such professionalism and success over the past 50 years” she said.
Miss Grange noted that John Holt has been a favourite of many Jamaican music lovers from the age of 12, when he was a regular entrant in talent contests staged by Vere Johns, and of a much wider Jamaican music community on becoming a member of the singing group, the Paragons, and later as an international star after going solo in 1970 and teaming up with Jamaican producer Bunny Lee.
She said that Holt’s hits, including “Stick By Me”, “Ali Baba”, “Tonight”, “Love I Can Feel”, and “The Tide is High”, which was a huge hit for British rock group, Blondie, stamped his indelible authority as a songwriter and singer on the global music landscape.
Holt she observed helped to take the music to a new level, when he teamed with Britain’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 2000, under the patronage of Prince Charles, for three sold out concerts in England, on which he was joined by Jamaica’s Lloyd Parks and We The People band, at the London Apollo and at the Symphony Centre in Birmingham.
She recalled that Holt did songs from three albums he had recorded in the 1970s on those concerts, on which British arranger Brian Rogers incorporated orchestral strings, widening the appeal of Jamaican reggae music to a very sophisticated European audience and winning much respect for its versatility.
“We fully appreciate his tremendous contribution to our music, and the commitment he showed to our culture and our nation over the past 50 years. We will never forget him and we know that his name will live on through the significant catalogue of music that he has left behind,” Miss Grange said.
“We wish to publicly express our grief at his passing, as well as our sincere condolences to his family, relatives and friends, and hope that his music will continue to be an inspiration for all of us, despite his passing,” she added.