A Love We Can Feel: Respect To John Holt

Early Sunday morning, Reggae Legend, John Kenneth Holt, died at the age of 67 in London. Even after collapsing onstage during a performance at this summer’s One Love Festival in the UK, he insisted that his health was fine and said “I’ll be back.” Born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1947, he entered talent competitions at an early age, throughout the island. Holt recorded his first single, “I Cried A Tear,” a song about lies and heartbreak, in London, 1963. This melancholy first tune, foreshadowed numerous follow up hits. More After The Jump…


The first of such tunes was “Tide is High,” written by Holt as part of the Trio, The Paragons.


The clever song about wavering the storms to reach his number one destination, was later covered by both Blondie and Atomic Kitten; the Blondie version reaching the top of the UK and US charts in the 1980’s. Launching his solo career in 1970, he kicked down the door with one of his classic lover’s rock tunes, “Stick By Me,” later covered in a up tempo version by UB40. Produced with Bunny “Striker” Lee, the song, “Stick By Me” was the highest selling record in Jamaica in 1972.  He followed up with several lover’s rock tunes, including fan favorites, “Love I Can Feel” and “If I Were A Carpenter.”

Holt’s profound lyrics and vocals, simply sums up the yearning of the soul for real love. His most political tune, “Police In Helicopter,” gave social commentary on Marijuana prohibition in Jamaica, however the song is symbolic globally in the green leaf movement.

“Yes Boss, Yes Boss, Yes Boss, Yes Boss!”  Mr. Holt wrote deeply rooted and heartfelt lyrics, with 40 albums which have indelibly marked reggae history.

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Music Community Responds to This Great Lost With Facebook Status Updates:

“ We have lost a legend! RIP John Holt! Very instrumental part of our reggae history! You’ll be missed… Thank you for the legacy and the great music. The 1st number one reggae billboard hit was “ Tide Is High” by Blondie…Written by John Holt.”- Shaggy

“ Deepest condolences to the family of The Late Legend, John Holt,   “1000 Volts’ Holt.
Jah rest his soul.” – Spragga Benz

“Rest well general, you will be remembered and missed by many…..” – I-Octane

 “RIP Reggae Legend John Holt”- Mr. Vegas

 “RIP John Holt. Was one of the greatest voices ever in Jamaican music and his sad passing will be mourned by his friends and devout fans worldwide. John’s brave battle against ill health has ended, but he leaves us a wealth of truly magnificent recordings.”- David Rodigan

“Long live the spirit of the great singer, John Holt, lead singer of The Paragons!! Did you know that “High and Windy” featuring Sara Lugo was a cover of one of their original songs, “Riding High on a Windy Day” –Kabaka Pyramid

“One of my top 5 reggae albums of all time, John Holt “ The Further You Look,” RIP to a great pioneer in reggae music history”- Wayne Oxtail Johnson, Road International

“RIP John Holt. You have served your culture well. I salute you.”- Sean Paul

“RIP John Holt. A legend and one of the fathers of reggae.” -UB40

From all of us at Boomshots Magazine, we salute one of the most prominent  singers and songwriters in music. We leave you with his rendition of the popular Diana Ross tune,   “Touch Me In The Morning” from his 1976 album, “2000 Volts of Holt.”


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3 Responses

  1. dan says:

    Rest In Peace great man good music

  2. Lt. Stitchie says:

    The last show that I got the opportunity to share the stage with John Holt was at Rebel Salute 2014. He delivered with excellence as usual and his departure will certainly leave a major crater within our beloved Reggae Industry. Absent physically, but present musically and in memory.

    Lt. Stitchie.

  3. Leanne says:

    So glad to live in an era that still appreciates the sounds of good reggae music. John Holt’s music is timeless and will be covered for years to come. Thank you so much for sharing your life John ~Sea of Love <3

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