Derrick Harriot

Biography

Derrick Harriott (born Derrick Clinton Harriott, 6 February 1939, Jamaica) is a singer and record producer. He has produced recordings by Big Youth, Chariot Riders, The Chosen Few, Dennis Brown, The Ethiopians, Keith & Tex, The Kingstonians, Rudy Mills, Scotty, Sly & Revolutionaries, and Winston McAnuff.

As a student at Excelsior High School, Harriott formed a duo with Claude Sang Jr., and in 1958 he formed the Jiving Juniors with Eugene Dwyer, Herman Sang, and Maurice Winter. In 1960 and 1961 the group had hit singles with “Over The River” (for Coxsone Dodd) and “Lollipop Girl” (for Duke Reid). In 1962, Harriott left to form his own record label, Crystal, and embark on a solo career. His first solo release, “I Care”, was a hit, with further hits following with “What Can I Do” (1964), “The Jerk” (1965) and “I’m Only Human” (1965), all of which were included on his debut album, The Best Of Derrick Harriott. In 1967 he had further solo hits with “The Loser” and “Solomon”, as well as with productions of other artists, including The Ethiopians’ “No Baptism”, and Keith And Tex’s “Tonight” and “Stop That Train”.

The lyrics to his song “Message from a Black Man” (circa 1970) echoed the growing black consciousness in American soul music of that time. In 1970 he issued The Crystalites’ The Undertaker, an instrumental album in a similar vein to the early music of The Upsetters. He produced successful albums by other artists, including DJ Scotty’s Schooldays, Dennis Brown’s Super Reggae and Soul Hits, and also his own 14 Chartbuster Hits.

In 1971, Swing magazine named Harriott the Top Producer of 1970. He was one of the first producers to use King Tubby mixing talents at his Waterhouse studio, issuing one of the earliest dub albums, Scrub A Dub, credited to The Crystallites. Harriott followed this with another dub/instrumental album, More Scrubbing The Dub. His late 1970s productions used backing from The Revolutionaries on albums such as Winston McAnuff’s Pick Hits To Click (1978), DJ Ray I’s Rasta Revival (1978) and his own Enter The Chariot and Disco 6 (a compilation album featuring Dennis Brown, Cornell Campbell and Horace Andy).

In the 1980s, he continued to have hits with soul cover versions, such as “Skin To Skin” and “Checking Out”. In 1988 he scored with “Starting All Over Again”, a duet with Yellowman, with lyrics about Hurricane Gilbert. The mid to late 1990s saw solo efforts such as Sings Jamaican Rock Steady Reggae, For a Fistful of Dollars, Derrick Harriott & Giants, and Riding the Roots Chariot being released.

In July 2002 in Toronto, Canada, Harriott performed at the two-night Legends of Ska festival. Other performers included: Skatalites, Rico Rodriguez, Lester Sterling, Johnny Moore, Lynn Taitt, Prince Buster, Alton Ellis, Lord Creator, Justin Hinds, Derrick Morgan and Lord Tanamo.

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