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Artist Hall of Fame

John HoltText by Harry Hawks

John Holt is rightly revered as Jamaica’s “finest interpreter of love ballads” but he could just as easily be regarded as one of its finest rock steady singers with The Paragons, one of its foundation vocalists at Studio One, or one of its best ever roots singers through his releases for Channel One in the seventies and Henry ‘Junjo’ Lawes in the eighties…
Date Added: Feb 29, 2012, Date Updated: Oct 21, 2014 Copyright (C) 2018 Dub Store Sound Inc.
Real Name: John Holt
Jul 11, 1947 - Oct 19, 2014
Place of Birth: Kingston
Jamaica
Related Artist(s):
Paragons
Tyrone Evans
Dennis Brown
Born 11th July 1947 in Kingston John Holt got his first big break on Vere Johns Junior's 'Opportunity Hour' talent shows and he recorded his first single, 'I Cried A Tear'/'Forever I'll Stay', for Leslie Kong's Beverleys label in 1963. And, like so many other Jamaican singers, his time came three years later with the advent of rock steady.

After Bob Andy's departure in 1966 The Paragons comprised Howard Barrett, Garth Tyrone Evans and John Holt. Working for Duke Reid's Treasure Isle label their records, backed by Tommy McCook and his Supersonics, typified the cool, cool sound of rock steady and the harmonies of Howard and Tyrone swooped and soared behind John Holt's confident lead. A series of faultless records from The Paragons including 'Village Girl'/'Wear You To The Ball', 'On The Beach', 'Only A Smile', 'Happy Go Lucky Girl' and 'The Tide Is High' dominated the era. As rock steady progressed into reggae John, sometimes alongside The Paragons and sometimes as a solo artist, began to record for Duke Reid's arch rival Clement 'Coxsone' Dodd(CS Dodd). The hits kept on coming for Treasure Isle, including 'Tonight', 'Ali Baba', 'I'm Your Man' and 'I See Your Face', while Studio One scored with 'My Satisfaction', 'Fancy Make Up', 'Sad News', 'A Love I Can Feel' and 'OK Fred'.

Many of these songs have subsequently come to be regarded as classics of the genre to be versioned over and over again in whatever the current musical style happened to be. No fan of Jamaican music can ever forget the great U Roy... the first to take The Paragons' beautiful Treasure Isle songs to new levels of excitement in the early seventies. 'Sad News' was transformed in 1975 into 'Move Out Of Babylon' for Johnny Clarke and 'OK Fred' became a UK National Chart hit for Errol Dunkley in 1979. One of the strangest lyrics in the history of reggae, 'Ali Baba', ran things hot throughout the seventies with countless dreadlocks, baldhead and barber interpretations. And, during the winter of 2001/2002, versions of both 'My Satisfaction' and 'My Best Girl' were, once again, doing the rounds of the dance halls. 'The Tide Is High' became an international hit for Blondie in 1980 and again with Atomic Kitten in 2002. The list goes on...

In 1971 John Holt moved on to record for Prince Buster, Keith Hudson, Phil Pratt and, most successfully of all, for Bunny Striker Lee and their 'Stick By Me' is one of the most popular records ever in Jamaican musical history.

"I have the record now for the longest selling Number One in Jamaica with John Holt. It was the biggest tune in Jamaica for that year..." Bunny Striker Lee

The 'Time Is The Master' album, released by Harry Mudie in 1973, proved to be the template for the hugely successful 'Volts Of Holt' ('1000 Volts Of Holt', '2000 Volts Of Holt', '3000 Volts Of Holt') long playing series for Trojan Records where John Holt's sentimental love songs were bathed in lush string arrangements. John became the 'housewives favourite' and his version of Kris Kristofferson's 'Help Me Make It Through The Night' became a huge European crossover hit in 1974/1975. But John Holt was not prepared to take the easy option and he travelled down Maxfield Avenue to Channel One Studio where his releases in the then current rockers style, including his version of Little Roy's 'Tribal War' and an update of his own 'Hooligan'/'Change Your Style' renamed 'Don't Fight Your Brother' were huge Jamaican hits.

Henry 'Junjo' Lawes' Volcano sound system and record label controlled the dance halls and the charts in the eighties and John Holt returned to the forefront once again with the anti authoritarian 'Police In Helicopter' and an update of 'A Love I Can Feel' for Junjo's Volcano label. In the new Millennium John Holt, together with Freddie McGregor and Ken Boothe backed by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, sold out an entire series of black tie only concerts in London's prestigious Royal Albert Hall. His catalogue of hits remains unrivalled and watching John Holt perform at a revival concert can be a highly enjoyable, but sometimes frustrating, experience. The audience call out and request their favourites and John duly obliges... but sometimes he only gets to sing snatches of his innumerable greatest hits and never sings the song the whole way through.

A master craftsman John Holt's unerring ability to make music that the public want to hear is unequalled and he has triumphed at every stage of his career: foundation rock steady, Studio One classics, crossover ballads, love songs, raw roots reggae... any one of which would have made him a leading figure in reggae music's development. He's done them all. His greatest hits, many of them not only hits for him but also covered by countless others, serve as a reminder of just what a towering figure he has been throughout the history of Jamaican music.
Feb 29, 2012 (Oct 21, 2014 Update) Text by Harry Hawks
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Hit titles
John Holt - 40 Greatest Hits (2CD) (CD-R)
CD John Holt - 40 Greatest Hits (2CD) (CD-R) Justice UK
  
¥2380 (US$21.14)
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John Holt - Paragons & Friends
CD John Holt - Paragons & Friends Studio One
  
¥2380 (US$21.14)
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Paragons - Riding High On The Beach
CD Paragons - Riding High On The Beach Treasure Isle
  
¥2380 (US$21.14)
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John Holt - A Love I Can Feel
CD John Holt - A Love I Can Feel Studio One
  
¥2380 (US$21.14)
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John Holt - Time Is The Master
CD John Holt - Time Is The Master Moodisc US
  
¥3180 (US$28.25)
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John Holt - Greatest Hits
CD John Holt - Greatest Hits Studio One
  
¥2380 (US$21.14)
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John Holt - 1,000 Volts Of Holt (20 Tracks)
CD John Holt - 1,000 Volts Of Holt (20 Tracks) Trojan UK
  
¥2080 (US$18.48)
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John Holt - Police In Helicopter
CD John Holt - Police In Helicopter Greensleeves UK
  
¥2480 ¥2180 (US$19.37)
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John Holt - Paragons & Friends
LP John Holt - Paragons & Friends Studio One
  
¥1680 (US$14.92)
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Paragons - On The Beach: Rock Steady Beat
LP Paragons - On The Beach: Rock Steady Beat Treasure Isle UK
  
¥2680 (US$23.81)
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John Holt - A Love I Can Feel
LP John Holt - A Love I Can Feel Studio One
  
¥2080 (US$18.48)
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John Holt - Greatest Hits
LP John Holt - Greatest Hits Studio One
  
¥1680 (US$14.92)
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John Holt - Time Is The Master
LP John Holt - Time Is The Master Moodisc US
  
¥2280 (US$20.25)
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John Holt - Like A Bolt
LP John Holt - Like A Bolt Treasure Isle
  
¥1980 (US$17.59)
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John Holt - 1,000 Volts Of Holt
LP John Holt - 1,000 Volts Of Holt Trojan UK
¥3180 (US$28.25)
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John Holt; Roots Radics - Police In Helicopter; Version
12" John Holt;Roots Radics - Police In Helicopter; Version Jah Guidance UK Police In Helicopter
  
¥1680 (US$14.92)
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Tyrone Evans (Paragons) - How Sweet It Is (Extended Mix)
10" Tyrone Evans (Paragons) - How Sweet It Is (Extended Mix) / Leroy Sibbles - Everybody's Talking (Extended Mix) Music Lab/Studio One US Jericho Rock
  
¥1280 ¥980 (US$8.71)
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Paragons - Only A Smile
7" Paragons - Only A Smile Treasure Isle (other) Only A Smile
  
¥800 (US$7.11)
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Paragons - My Satisfaction
7" Paragons - My Satisfaction / Sound Dimension - Studio One My Satisfaction/Zion Gate
  
¥850 (US$7.55)
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John Holt, Paragons - Memories By The Score
7" John Holt, Paragons - Memories By The Score Striker Lee Memories By The Score
  
¥1280 (US$11.37)
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Paragons - Yellow Bird
7" Paragons - Yellow Bird Treasure Isle (other)
  
¥570 (US$5.06)
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Paragons - Tide Is High
7" Paragons - Tide Is High / Unknown - Unknown Treasure Isle Tide Is High
  
¥850 (US$7.55)
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Paragons - On The Beach
7" Paragons - On The Beach / Duke Reid's Groupe - Don't Try Me Treasure Isle
  
¥600 (US$5.33)
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Paragons, Lynn Taitt, Jets - We Were Meant To Be
7" Paragons, Lynn Taitt, Jets - We Were Meant To Be Merritone/Dub Store Records JPN
   One of the earliest works recorded by John Holt. This is a golden Rocksteady piece clearly depicts beautiful atmosphere that Federal Records always has kept in their recording material. The single was originally released in 1966 without this acappella version. Reissued from the original master tape.
¥1380 (US$12.26)
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John Holt, Paragons - Man Next Door
7" John Holt, Paragons - Man Next Door / Dave Barker - Got To Get Away Striker Lee Man Next Door
  
¥800 (US$7.11)
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John Holt - Left With A Broken Heart
7" John Holt - Left With A Broken Heart Striker Lee
  
¥570 (US$5.06)
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Paragons - Mother Nature
7" Paragons - Mother Nature / Melodians - I Will Get A Long Without You Treasure Isle (other) Mother Nature
  
¥570 (US$5.06)
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John Holt - Stealing
7" John Holt - Stealing Treasure Isle UK Stealing B: Alibaba
  
¥1280 (US$11.37)
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John Holt - I See Your Face
7" John Holt - I See Your Face Treasure Isle
  
¥1480 (US$13.15)
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Bob Andy - Games People Play
7" Bob Andy - Games People Play / John Holt - Talking Love K & K US B: Talking Love Info: Adapted
  
¥900 (US$8.00)
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John Holt - Stick By Me
7" John Holt - Stick By Me / Dennis Alcapone - Jumping Jack Striker Lee Stick By Me
  
¥700 (US$6.22)
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John Holt - Stick By Me
7" John Holt - Stick By Me Moodisc US Stick By Me
  
¥1680 (US$14.92)
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Don Evans, Paragons - Danger In Your Eyes (ミス・クレジット)
7" Don Evans, Paragons - Danger In Your Eyes (ミス・クレジット) Studio One Danger In Your Eyes
  
¥850 (US$7.55)
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John Holt - Time Is The Master
7" John Holt - Time Is The Master Moodisc US
  
¥900 (US$8.00)
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John Holt - On The Beach
7" John Holt - On The Beach / Lizzy - Version Striker Lee On The Beach
  
¥700 (US$6.22)
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John Holt - Rain From The Sky
7" John Holt - Rain From The Sky Striker Lee Rain From The Sky
  
¥570 (US$5.06)
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John Holt - For The Love Of You
7" John Holt - For The Love Of You Impact US
  
¥1000 (US$8.88)
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John Holt - Tree In The Medow
7" John Holt - Tree In The Medow Hit Bound/Channel One
  
¥800 (US$7.11)
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John Holt - Strange Things
7" John Holt - Strange Things / Freddie McKay - Tear Drops Sun Shot UK Strange Things
  
¥1200 (US$10.66)
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John Holt - Wear You To The Ball
7" John Holt - Wear You To The Ball Striker Lee
  
¥570 (US$5.06)
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John Holt - OK Fred
7" John Holt - OK Fred Striker Lee
  
¥570 (US$5.06)
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John Holt - Tonight
7" John Holt - Tonight Striker Lee
  
¥570 (US$5.06)
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John Holt - I Wanna Wake Up With You
7" John Holt - I Wanna Wake Up With You Striker Lee B: Info: Adapted
  
¥700 (US$6.22)
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John Holt - Brandy
7" John Holt - Brandy Gorgon (Org) Info: Original Press
  
¥680 (US$6.04)
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John Holt - Police In Helicopter
7" John Holt - Police In Helicopter Volcano Police In Helicopter
  
¥840 (US$7.46)
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Dennis Brown, John Holt - Wildfire
7" Dennis Brown, John Holt - Wildfire Emmanuel Music UK Info: Adapted
  
¥980 (US$8.71)
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John Holt - Police In Helicopter
7" John Holt - Police In Helicopter Jah Guidance UK Police In Helicopter
  
¥1000 (US$8.88)
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John Holt - Youths Pon The Corner
7" John Holt - Youths Pon The Corner Jah Guidance UK Police In Helicopter
  
¥900 (US$8.00)
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John Holt - Police In Helicopter
7" John Holt - Police In Helicopter Striker Lee
  
¥700 (US$6.22)
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John Holt - Sweetie Come Brush Me (レーベルダメージ)
7" John Holt - Sweetie Come Brush Me (レーベルダメージ) Volcano
  
¥720 (US$6.40)
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John Holt - Love I Can Feel
7" John Holt - Love I Can Feel / Roots Radics - Version Jah Guidance UK Love I Can Feel
  
¥900 (US$8.00)
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Dennis Brown, John Holt - Wild Fire
7" Dennis Brown, John Holt - Wild Fire Tad's
  
¥600 (US$5.33)
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John Holt - Love I Can Feel
7" John Holt - Love I Can Feel Volcano Love I Can Feel
  
¥720 (US$6.40)
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John Holt - Stealing
7" John Holt - Stealing Volcano Stealing
  
¥720 (US$6.40)
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John Holt - Carpenter
7" John Holt - Carpenter Jammys Carpenter
  
¥600 (US$5.33)
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John Holt - Tide Is High
7" John Holt - Tide Is High Digital B Tide Is High
  
¥600 (US$5.33)
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John Holt - Stealing
7" John Holt - Stealing Black Scorpio Stealing
  
¥900 (US$8.00)
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John Holt - Be Close To You
7" John Holt - Be Close To You Volcano My Best Dress
  
¥700 (US$6.22)
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John Holt, Gregory Isaacs - Body Language
7" John Holt, Gregory Isaacs - Body Language Digital B I'm Not A King
  
¥900 (US$8.00)
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John Holt - Imagine
7" John Holt - Imagine / Chaka Demus, Pliers - A Change Is Gonna Come Keyzer SozeII/24x7 Records JPN Info: Adapted
  
¥945 (US$8.40)
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Recent arrival(s)
U Roy - Dynamic Fashion Way
7" U Roy - Dynamic Fashion Way / John Holt - Share My Rest Inbidimts/Dub Store Records JPN
   Some may call it the original sound tune! This deejay cut strongly represent the new era of reggae music during 1969-70 with a string of new producers landing with serious hits. “Dynamic Fashion” would definitely be one of the top three U-Roy early classics.
¥1480 (US$13.15)
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Best selling CD(s)
John Holt - Paragons & Friends
CD John Holt - Paragons & Friends Studio One
  
¥2380 (US$21.14)
BUY
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Best selling LP(s)
Sammy Dread, Cultural Roots, John Holt - Old School Dancehall Classic Volume 2 (Plane Sleeve)
LP Sammy Dread, Cultural Roots, John Holt - Old School Dancehall Classic Volume 2 (Plane Sleeve) Old School UK
  
¥1980 ¥1199 (US$10.65)
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Best selling 10/12"(s)
John Holt - Love & Understanding
10" John Holt - Love & Understanding Channel One/Digikiller/Deeper Knowledge US
  
¥2180 (US$19.37)
BUY
John Holt - Police In Hericopter (Extended Mix)
12" John Holt - Police In Hericopter (Extended Mix) Greensleeves UK
  
¥1980 (US$17.59)
BUY
John Holt - Sally Come Home (Radio Mix); (Hip House Mix); (Club Mix)
12" John Holt - Sally Come Home (Radio Mix); (Hip House Mix); (Club Mix) Gong Sounds US (Org) Info: Original Press
  
¥1580 ¥980 (US$8.71)
BUY
John Holt - Ballerina Girl
12" John Holt - Ballerina Girl / Dean Fraser - Ballerina Sounds Sonic Sounds (Org) Info: Original Press
¥1880 ¥1580 (US$14.04)
BUY
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Best selling 7"(s)
John Holt - Stealing
7" John Holt - Stealing Treasure Isle UK Stealing B: Alibaba
  
¥1280 (US$11.37)
BUY
John Holt - Stick By Me
7" John Holt - Stick By Me Moodisc US Stick By Me
  
¥1680 (US$14.92)
BUY
John Holt - Stealing
7" John Holt - Stealing Volcano Stealing
  
¥720 (US$6.40)
BUY
John Holt - Fancy Make Up
7" John Holt - Fancy Make Up Studio One
  
¥1180 (US$10.48)
BUY
U Roy - Dynamic Fashion Way
7" U Roy - Dynamic Fashion Way / John Holt - Share My Rest Inbidimts/Dub Store Records JPN
   Some may call it the original sound tune! This deejay cut strongly represent the new era of reggae music during 1969-70 with a string of new producers landing with serious hits. “Dynamic Fashion” would definitely be one of the top three U-Roy early classics.
¥1480 (US$13.15)
BUY
>>more
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