Around the World in Music: Jamaica’s Mikey Dread

21 Feb

Mikey Dread

Mikey Dread: World War III


Born Michael Campbell in Port Antonio, Jamaica in 1954, the late Mikey Dread got his start with his radio show: Dread at the Controls.

He surely was. His show was one of the first to emphasize the island’s own reggae singers, and became No. 1 in Jamaica. Soon after, Dread became a popular artist in his own right. The rock group The Clash were among his fans, and they invited him to work with them. Dread produced and collaborated with them on their albums and his. The cut below from World War III in 1980 was produced while Dread worked with The Clash; it became a No. 1 album on the British reggae charts.

Over the years Dread produced almost everything to do with reggae — his own albums, TV shows, radio shows, documentaries — and other artists outside the genre. He worked or toured with Carlos Santana, Bob Dylan, Guns and Roses guitarist Izzy Stradlin, among others. In the 1990s he returned to college in Florida and graduated with honors from Lynn University.

From the back of the World War III album:

No time to lose, so I make a haste
The effects of my haste . . . . . . . . an awful waste
In time . . . . . . . . . . (again) . . . . . . . . . so here I am
Where I began . . . . . . . .
Therefore I belong
Where I began
“At the controls”

Mikey Dread died of a brain tumor in 2008 at his home in Stamford, Connecticut.

Tuesday: Walter Becker
Next Monday: Around the World: Canada


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