Clement Seymour "Sir Coxsone" Dodd was the most influential of all the producers in the development of modern Jamaican music and is widely cited as the most significant man in reggae. He received his nickname "Coxsone" at school, his talent reminding friends of Alec Coxon, the famous Yorkshire cricketer.
He started out playing Jazz and R?n?B records, very popular in Jamaica at the time, at his mother?s restaurant. He then went to the US for farm-work (many Jamaicans used to do this), which gave him an opportunity to find records for himself and then bring them back to Jamaica. In 1954 he set up the Downbeat Sound System with an amplifier and speakers he?d bought whilst in the US. His sound system was a great success and he started making more regular trips to the US looking for new tunes that none of the other sound system operators had. At one point his dances were so popular that he was running five different sound systems to satisfy demand, each playing every night. To work on them he employed people such as King Stitt, Lee Perry and Prince Buster
By the late 50s the supply of R?n?B records was drying up as the music changed in to the smoother Rock and Roll, which wasn?t as heavy and consequently not very popular with the Jamaican public. It was at this time Coxsone decided to try and make music with Jamaican musicians that would satisfy the dancers. This was a radical idea because at the time hardly any Jamaican music had ever been recorded. At first the records were one-offs, Dubplates to play on the sound system but their popularity made Coxsone realise that maybe he should press them up and try to sell them. His idea worked and this gave birth to Ska, the forerunner to reggae. In 1963 he opened Studio One on Brentford Road, Kingston. It was the first black-owned recording studio in Jamaica and every musician and singer wanted to be part of what was happening there . He held regular Sunday evening auditions in search of new talent and it was here he discovered Bob Marley and the Wailers - Marley then moved in to a back room of the studio. In 1964 his song Simmer Down, a Dodd production, went to number one
The hits kept coming all through the Ska era with a seemingly endless supply of great singers backed by the island?s most popular group, The Skatalites. During the rocksteady era of the late 60s he continued to produce hit after hit and many of his rhythms became the backbone of reggae ? even today you hear countless versions of them coming out of Jamaica each week. The hits continued throughout the 70s and early 80s when he made hundreds more reggae, roots (he?s considered to be the first producer to emphasize Rasta beliefs in the music) and dancehall classics. Only in the mid 80s, when he moved to New York and opened a record shop there to escape the violence that was engulfing Jamaica did the hits become less frequent. However the studio remained open and he continued to be very active in the music business well into his seventies. In May 2004 Kingston's Brentford Road was renamed Studio One Boulevard in a ceremony which paid tribute to his accomplishments as a producer. He died suddenly of heart attack four days later while working at the studio. His importance in the history of Jamaican music can not be overstated
As featured on all of Soul Jazz Records? numerous Studio One compilations