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Famed Jamaican Reggae Producer Harry Johnson Dies

07:01 AM Saturday 4/6/13 | |

Harry Johnson, a Jamaican musician and reggae producer whose studio was a popular hangout for artists including Bob Marley and Mick Jagger, has died. He was 67.

Daughter Tara Johnson said Friday that her father died at a hospital in western Jamaica on Wednesday after a long battle with diabetes.

Johnson was best known as Harry J. had several big hits in the late 1960s and early 70s, including “The Liquidator,” a reggae instrumental recorded by his band, Harry J Allstars. The song is often played before soccer matches in the United Kingdom and its opening guitar riff inspired the classic soul song, “I’ll Take You There,” by the Staples Singers.

Johnson’s studio was where Bob Marley & The Wailers recorded their first four Island Records albums. Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer and Burning Spear also used the studio’s equipment, which was considered cutting-edge for the time.

“He had the vision to step up the technology of his studio. To record on 16-track was a big thing back then,” said Steven Stewart, Johnson’s longtime sound engineer.

The studio also drew celebrities such as Grace Jones and Chris Blackwell, the founder of Island Records.

Johnson is survived by four children and three grandchildren.


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