Blessed with a rich timbre of a voice, John Kenneth Holt is the archetypal Reggae crooner. Entering the music arena through the talent show circuit, he won his first competition at the grand old age of 12. A record 28 appearances later, he performed a farewell performance on the famed Verejohn’s show. By this time, Jamaica’s fledgling recording industry had afforded him the chance to record.

The hits didn’t start until 1964 when he joined the Paragons harmony group. The group found themselves at Duke Reid’s Treasure Isle where Holt would pen classics like ‘On The Beach’ and ‘Tide Is High’. ‘Tide…’ would become his most endearing song as it was a pop number one for both Blondie and Atomic Kitten.

In 1970, Holt found himself solo as his two partners were awarded scholarships to America. Having been the main composer for the Paragons, ho rose to the challenge with hits like ‘Ali Baba’, ‘Stranger In Love’, A Love I Can Feel’ and the record-breaking ‘Stick By Me’.

When signed to Trojan records he was billed as Jamaica’s Frank Sinatra. In this guise, he recorded the Thousand Volts of Holt series which saw him visiting the pop charts with his reading of ‘Help Me Make It Through The Night’. Five years later, Errol Dunkley followed into the charts with the Holt-penned ‘OK Fred’.

Still touring extensively today, ‘Sir’ John Holt as he is now affectionately called, started an annual visit to the UK in 2000 for the ‘In Symphony’ series which paired him with the London Symphony Orchestra.


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John Holt by Westbury Music