Reggae’s Bad Boys call for Hall of Fame
Brothers Ian and Roger Lewis, founding members of the Inner Circle band, believe Jamaica could realize benefits from its music with the creation of a multi-purpose Reggae Hall of Fame.
“Reggae music is a universal thing. So the Hall of Fame would have to be self-sufficient that people from all over the world can come,” bassist Ian Lewis told the Jamaica Observer.
The siblings, who are on a break from a three-month tour of Europe, said the north coast would be an ideal location for the ‘Hall’.
“It would have to be somewhere scenic like Ocho Rios (in St Ann). It could be a place where people learn about the history of the music ... learn ‘bout wicked singers like Brent Dowe from The Melodians, who was an innovator,” Lewis said. “People nuh know about di harmony groups. People can learn ‘bout Don Drummond who was a modern-day Miles Davis. The Skatalites music came outa Don’s head,” he added. “Tommy McCook, a great musician, nuh get his due either. The younger youth dem fi know these men who were the pioneers.”
Dowe, who, along with Trevor Brevett and Trevor McNaughton comprised The Melodians, died of a heart attack in 2006. He was 59. The group, which formed in the early 1960s, is known for standards including Rivers of Babylon, Sweet Sensation and Little Nut Tree.
Trombonist Drummond and saxophonist McCook were founding members of the Skatalites, known for tracks including Confucius, Guns of Navarone and Freedom Sounds.
Drummond and McCook died in 1969 and 1998, respectively.
“The Reggae Hall of Fame would operate as an information/talent agency that does artiste booking. It would have to have a studio on the compound. It could also serve as a place where you could do press conferences ... Everything under one roof,” said Ian Lewis.
Money to construct the Hall of Fame could be sourced from the diaspora.
“You could ask everybody to send US$10. But you have to have transparency and decent people handling the money and get an architect to design a nice place,” suggested Lewis.
Formed in 1968, Inner Circle achieved success with singer Jacob Miller in the 1970s. After his death in 1980, the group disbanded and the Lewis brothers migrated to Florida. The band reformed in 1986 and is known globally for the hit songs Bad Boys and Sweat (A La La La La Long).
Brothers Roger (left) and Ian Lewis of the reggae
band Inner Circle.