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23.03.2019 Feature Article

The Irresistible Tunes Of Reggae Star Beres Hammond

Beres Hammond
MAR 23, 2019 FEATURE ARTICLE

Writing is a passion which involves creativity but it’s not tougher than to choose the right subject readers may like. Readers don’t tell writers what want, therefore, it’s sometimes difficult to know the mind of readers and articles they might be interested. This is one of the reasons I like to spread my tentacles on every subject. Who knows there are certain groups or class of people who may be interested?

Like Africa, full of fresh sweet coconut trees with tasty juice, Jamaica is full of great artists some reggae fans may not even know about them. Freddie McGregor, Frankie Paul, Cocoa Tee, Jacob Miller, Barrington Levy, Alton Ellis etc.

Today, I will introduce one of Jamaica’s great artists who stormed both the Jamaican and the British charts with unprecedented hits. His great tunes will pull you to the dancing floor even if you are not ready to dance, yet only a few know who is called Beres Hammond.

Born Hugh Beresford Hammond in 1953, Beres is considered the lover’s rock singer par excellence in Jamaica and around the world. He became the singer of the band Zap Pow in 1975. His youth influences were American soul artists, such as Sam Cooke and Otis Redding.

But it was more Peter Tosh, Ken Boothe, Alton Ellis, and The Heptones, his reggae idols that pushed him to persevere in this style of music. He had to wait until 1976 to release his first album Soul Reggae on the label Aquarius, his first great success, in the wake of the single One Step Ahead, which held the first place on the charts for fourteen weeks!

Despite this, he did not record any more albums for the next few years and only focused on producing singles. He will quit Zap Pow in 1979.

Five years after his first album, Joe Gibbs produced his second, Just A Man. Unfortunately, things do not go well between the artist and the producer. He steps back for one year, after which he released his new album for Willie Lindo.

After creating his own group, Tuesday’s Children, he founded his own record label, Harmony House. It is on the latter that he’ll produce new singles, of which What One Dance Can Do will be his greatest success, produced by Lindo.

He left Jamaica in 1987 after being attacked at home to relocate to New York for three years. But the decisive encounter in Beres Hammond’s career was undoubted with Donovan Germain, the Penthouse record label boss.

Indeed, Germain produced the single Tempted To Touch, a huge success for Beres, to mark his return on his native island. The title transcended borders and did very well in New York and the UK as well. Beres was revealed as a true crooner! Since then, he has specialized in love songs, to the delight of his admirers.

The greatest Jamaican producers and labels have also been seduced by his voice; Fatis Burell, the Xterminator boss, Richard “Bello” Bell of Star Trail and also Steely & Clevie. He has released a number of albums for the major reggae labels: VP Records, HeartBeat, Greensleeves, as well as his own label Harmony House.

Conclusion

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Everyone is inspired to do something great in life but the sources of inspiration divers. I don’t smoke (cigarette, weed) or drink much. I do write a lot but listening to reggae music gives me much inspiration, the reason I can’t stop writing about these musicians whose music have entertained the world in many ways.

Each one of us has problems, even the rich man has a problem too because he is worried of where to keep his treasures or dying to leave them behind but one important thing in life is don’t let the problem suppress your life, fight to defeat it. I will leave you with one of Beres Hammond’s great tunes I love called “They Gonna Talk.” I wish everyone a Happy Weekend.

Joel Savage
Joel Savage, © 2019

Joel Savage is a Ghanaian-Belgian journalist and author. The accredited press-card holder of the Flemish Journalists Association once contributed regularly to the features column of the Daily Graphic, The Mirror, Ghanaian Times and the Weekly Spectator. The writer currently lives in Belgium., Author column: JoelSavage

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