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the online live music gig guide for the midlands

Highway Dave and The Varmints
Surge Music Gig Guide

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26 April 2017

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Band Info


John Holt was born in Kingston in 1947. By the age of 12, he was a regular entrant in talent contests run at Jamaican theatres. He recorded his first single in 1963 with "I Cried a Tear”, and also recorded duets with Alton Ellis. He achieved prominence in his home country as lead singer of The Paragons, with whom he enjoyed a string of hits, including "Ali Baba", "Tonight", "I See Your Face", and then Holt-penned "The Tide Is High" (later made famous by Blondie and also covered by Atomic Kitten).



Holt's style, notably slower and more romantic than most of his contemporaries, is a recognisable forerunner of a style of reggae known as Lovers Rock which developed in the UK during the 1970s. "Don't Want To See You Cry" was one of Holt's many Jamaican hits. The lyrics about "moving to a far away land" and leaving loved ones behind must have rung true for many Jamaicans in the 1960s.



While Holt became well-known internationally for these lushly produced ballads, back in Jamaica he also recorded more roots-oriented material such as the "rockers" single "Up Park Camp". Holt further explored his more rootsy side on the album Police In Helicopter from 1983, the title song from which became a hit.

His song, "Man Next Door", has been covered by numerous other reggae artists including Dennis Brown and Horace Andy who also sang in a more electronic version of the Song for the Massive Attack album, Mezzanine.



Over the years Holt has captivated audiences all over the world with his concerts performing all his memorable hits. Seeing believes, he sings his hits exactly as they were recorded, note perfect.

Genres: Reggae

John Holt Gigs


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