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Artist Hall of Fame

YellowmanText by Harry Hawks

During the years that he reigned as King Yellow no one was able to come near Yellowman’s popularity and he worked tirelessly throughout the eighties for every producer who had the wherewithal to record him…
Date Added: Jun 7, 2012, Date Updated: Aug 29, 2017 Copyright (C) 2021 Dub Store Sound Inc.
Real Name: Winston Foster
Place of Birth: Kingston
Jamaica
Related Artist(s):
Josey Wales
Peter Metro
Charlie Chaplin
Purple Man
"Just cool. Just cool. It's not right to call Yellowman a fool..."

Yellowman, a reggae sensation in the early eighties, was making hit records for a number of years before the music press belatedly started to call his name in an attempt to let their readers know that they were on top of current reggae trends. When he failed to conform to what they had come to expect from a reggae star (another Bob Marley) they began to listen a bit more closely to his records and decided that he was not the least bit sexy but 'sexist'. Boastful, humorous and unrepentant Yellowman defied all of their preconceptions: he was a dance hall deejay... and proud of it.

"Hi. My name is Yellowman... and in the ghetto they call me Mister Sexy."

Born 15th January 1956 in Kingston, Jamaica Winston 'Yellowman' Foster was orphaned at a very early age and endured grinding poverty before being brought up in various charitable institutes including the Maxfield Park Home and the Alpha Boys School. At the age of eighteen he began entering talent contests and, after winning the Tastee Patties Talent Competition, he started to hold the mic. at local sound system dances and endeavouring to make a record at Kingston's studios... but Winston was an albino or 'dundus'.

"Yellowman was called Yellowboy. He used to come round Joe Gibbs at night time and they used to say "Go back to the almshouse Yellowboy!" Yellowman couldn't make it 'cause he was different... " Bunny Striker Lee

To establish a reputation in the cut throat competition of Kingston's musical scene required drive and ambition and a burning desire to succeed and Yellowman did so despite all the odds being stacked against him. Always much more than a mere novelty act he gradually honed his ability to ride a rhythm and deliver lyrics with insight and humour and, by the end of 1979, Yellowman had become the resident mic. man on Aces Disco out of Port Morant in the parish of St. Thomas. Trading on his physical appearance in much the same way as King Stitt, "I am the ugly one...", had done in the early seventies and, with tongue planted firmly in his cheek, he chatted endlessly about just how handsome and attractive he was to the opposite sex. He gradually transformed his pariah status into a point of pride and rapidly moved up the rankings to become the star attraction on Aces Disco.

Singer and producer Ruddy Thomas was one of the first to put Yellowman on record: his first hit 'Love Struck' was released on the Ruddy T label and it was not very long before every producer on the island was queuing up to record Winston Foster. Records, such as 'Over Me', 'Soldier Take Over' and 'Operation Eradication', were excellent and very, very popular but all the records he made during this period are of a very high standard. His sense of humour proved to be one of his strongest assets and Yellowman was a huge attraction... live and direct... on the dance hall circuit. Cassettes taped live in the dance hall had been in circulation among the cognoscenti for a couple of years but were not commercially available and in 1982 he became the first Jamaican deejay to release a 'live' album on vinyl: 'Yellowman and Fathead Live At Aces'.

"Yellowman became a superstar and although he used to live in an almshouse where poor people live he came out and got himself together.... Then he became King Yellow... and all the people would have liked to have two Yellowman from that time on their tape!" Bunny Striker Lee

In 1982, at the height of his fame, he released more albums than Bob Marley had put out in his entire career and his plethora of albums, seven and twelve inch singles can prove very confusing to a newcomer to Yellowman's oeuvre. His most accomplished and consistent studio work was with Henry 'Junjo' Lawes and their 1982 album 'Mister Yellowman', released on Greensleeves in London, began to establish his reputation beyond the confines of Jamaica's dance halls.

"... so Junjo and Greensleeves caught the next thing and Yellowman became a superstar... big overnight superstar like Bob Marley and thing!" Bunny Striker Lee

Yellowman's first visit to the UK was for a series of sold out concerts in the summer of 1983 and his shows at Pickett's Lock in North London caused roadblocks over the entire area. It took patrons, including myself, hours to get home afterwards. However, he lived up to the title of 'King Yellow' and nothing had been lost in the transition from Jamaican sound system, vinyl and cassette to appearing live on stage in England. The audience sang and deejayed along with every song...

He was signed to multinational label CBS in 1984, the first Jamaican deejay to sign to a major, but unfortunately the resulting album 'King Yellowman' was a disappointment. Someone at CBS had decided he should do disco or calypso... anything but reggae music... in an attempt to make his music more palatable to the mainstream. The album did not sell and Yellowman returned to what he did best. In the meantime the reggae business had responded to his success by finding not one, but two, albino deejays, Purpleman and Peter Yellow, who both recorded in a similar style to Yellowman.

Social commentator, singer and comedian Lloyd Lovindeer paid Winston Foster the ultimate accolade when he released 'Yellow Fellow' at the height of Yellowmania. Tribute records are not usually made until you're dead and gone. Yellowman had a close call in 1986 when he was diagnosed with cancer of the jaw. He was given six months to live but it appears that this diagnosis failed to take into account his resourceful resilience: this albino orphan had fought long and hard to become King Yellowman and cancer had no chance against him! After extensive surgery Yellowman took an extended break from the music business and, slowly but surely, fought his way back to health.

After his long illness he returned to recording with an updated version of 'Blueberry Hill'. As the nineties progressed he often returned to more spiritual and cultural themes but also remained with his earlier preoccupations on albums such as 'In Bed With Yellowman' and 'Yellowman's Good Sex Guide'. But these records were no longer selling to Jamaica's younger dance hall fans. However, Yellowman had a loyal and committed international audience who have proved to be as captivated with his wit and delivery as the local audiences he first charmed in the early eighties on Aces Disco. Throughout his eventful career Yellowman has maintained his sense of humour, his ability to sit on a rhythm and above all his self-mockery. It should be obvious to everyone who has had the last laugh...

"I was made to thrill people. As long as I have a tongue in my head lyrics will flow till I'm dead."
Jun 7, 2012 (Aug 29, 2017 Update) Text by Harry Hawks
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Hit titles
Yellowman - Most Wanted
CD Yellowman - Most Wanted Greensleeves UK
  
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Yellowman, Fathead - Them A Mad Over Me (1982)
CD Yellowman, Fathead - Them A Mad Over Me (1982) Hit Bound/Channel One US
  
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Yellowman - Zungguzungguguzungguzeng
CD Yellowman - Zungguzungguguzungguzeng Shanachie US
  
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Yellowman - Reggae Anthology: Look How Me Sexy
CD Yellowman - Reggae Anthology: Look How Me Sexy VP US
  
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Don Carlos, Toyan, Yellowman, Little John - Jah Guidance 12" Rewind Volume 1
LP Don Carlos, Toyan, Yellowman, Little John - Jah Guidance 12" Rewind Volume 1 VP US
  
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Yellowman - Them A Mad Over Me
LP Yellowman - Them A Mad Over Me Hit Bound/Channel One US
  
¥1980 (US$17.41)
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Yellowman, Josey Wales - Two Giants Clash
LP Yellowman, Josey Wales - Two Giants Clash Jah Guidance
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Yellowman - Reggae Anthology: Look How Me Sexy (2LP)
LP Yellowman - Reggae Anthology: Look How Me Sexy (2LP) VP US
  
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Yellowman - A Very, Very Yellow Christmas
LP Yellowman - A Very, Very Yellow Christmas RAS US
  
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Yellowman - Zungguzungguguzungguzeng
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Yellowman - Getting Married
7" Yellowman - Getting Married Jah Guidance UK Worries In The Dance
  
¥900 (US$7.91)
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Yellowman - I'm Getting Divorced
7" Yellowman - I'm Getting Divorced Jah Guidance UK Worries In The Dance
  
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Yellowman - Zungguzungguguzungguzeng
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Yellowman, Peter Metro - Girl Is Mine
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Yellowman - Mr. Chin
7" Yellowman - Mr. Chin Jah Guidance UK I'm Just A Guy
  
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Yellowman - Gun Man
7" Yellowman - Gun Man Hit Bound/Channel One
  
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Yellowman - Mr. Chin
7" Yellowman - Mr. Chin Volcano I'm Just A Guy B: Ting A Ling
  
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Yellowman - Bam Bam
7" Yellowman - Bam Bam Volcano Taxi
  
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Yellowman - Ram Jam Master
7" Yellowman - Ram Jam Master Jah Guidance UK Shank I Sheck
  
¥900 (US$7.91)
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Yellowman - Who Can Make The Dance Ram
7" Yellowman - Who Can Make The Dance Ram Jah Guidance UK Three Blind Mice
  
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Yellowman - Nobody Move Nobody Get Hurt
7" Yellowman - Nobody Move Nobody Get Hurt Volcano I Can't Hide
  
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Yellowman, Fathead - Come We Just A Come
7" Yellowman, Fathead - Come We Just A Come Dynamite Everybody Bawling
  
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Yellowman, Fathead - I'm Getting Married In The Morning
7" Yellowman, Fathead - I'm Getting Married In The Morning Volcano Worries In The Dance
  
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Yellowman, Fathead - Bait A Bait
7" Yellowman, Fathead - Bait A Bait Dynamite Lonely Man
  
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Yellowman - Soldier Take Over
7" Yellowman - Soldier Take Over Sonic Sounds Mad Mad/Diseases
  
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Yellowman - Zungguzungguguzungguzeng
7" Yellowman - Zungguzungguguzungguzeng Volcano Mad Mad/Diseases
  
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Yellowman - Who Can Make The Dance Cork
7" Yellowman - Who Can Make The Dance Cork Volcano Three Blind Mice
  
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Yellowman - Blue Berry Hill
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Yellowman - Two Prime Minister
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Yellowman - Who Can Make The Dance Ram
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Itals - Ina Dis Time
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Mighty Diamonds, Mr. Williamz, Yellowman - Pass The Kouchie (Combination Edit)
7" Mighty Diamonds, Mr. Williamz, Yellowman - Pass The Kouchie (Combination Edit) Necessary Mayhem UK Full Up
  
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Recent arrival(s)
Yellowman - Reggae Freedom
LP Yellowman - Reggae Freedom Goldenlane CA
  
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Best selling CD(s)
Yellowman - Most Wanted
CD Yellowman - Most Wanted Greensleeves UK
  
¥2380 (US$20.92)
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Yellowman - Zungguzungguguzungguzeng
CD Yellowman - Zungguzungguguzungguzeng Shanachie US
  
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Best selling LP(s)
Yellowman - Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt
LP Yellowman - Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt Greensleeves UK
  
¥3180 (US$27.96)
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Yellowman, Josey Wales - Two Giants Clash
LP Yellowman, Josey Wales - Two Giants Clash Greensleeves UK
  
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Yellowman - Reggae Anthology: Look How Me Sexy (2LP)
LP Yellowman - Reggae Anthology: Look How Me Sexy (2LP) VP US
  
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Yellowman, Fathead, Purpleman, Sister Nancy - Yellow The Purple & Nancy
LP Yellowman, Fathead, Purpleman, Sister Nancy - Yellow The Purple & Nancy Greensleeves UK
  
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Best selling 10/12"(s)
Itals - In A Dis Ya Time
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Frankie Paul; Yellowman - Rock You; No Touch Yah So
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Frankie Paul; Yellowman - Tickle Me; Gaze
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Ninjaman - Woman Get Set; Get Set Version
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Yellowman, Lavern Williams - If You Should Loose Me
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