Artiste Tribute: Jimmy Cliff

  • This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more.

The Honourable James "Jimmy Cliff" Chambers OM, was born April 1, 1948. He is a ska and reggae singer, musician, and actor. He is the only currently living musician to hold the Order of Merit, the highest honour that can be granted by the Jamaican government for achievement in the arts and sciences.

He is best known among mainstream audiences for songs such as "Sitting in Limbo," "You Can Get It If You Really Want," and "Many Rivers to Cross" from the soundtrack to The Harder They Come, which helped popularize reggae across the world and his covers of Cat Stevens' "Wild World" and Johnny Nash's "I Can See Clearly Now" from the film Cool Runnings.

Jimmy Cliff was born in Somerton District of St. James. He began writing songs while still at primary school in St. James, listening to a neighbour's sound system. In 1962 his father took him to Kingston to go to Kingston Technical school where he ended up sharing his cousin's one rented room in East Kingston.

In 1964, Jimmy Cliff was chosen as one of the Jamaican representatives at the World's Fair. Later that year Jimmy Cliff soon signed to Island Records and moved to the UK. Island Records initially tried to sell Cliff to the rock audience however the venture was unsuccessfull.

In 1968 Jimmy Cliff release his international debut album Hard Road to Travel, which received excellent reviews and included "Waterfall" composed by Nirvana's Alex Spyropoulos and Patrick Campbell-Lyons, which became a hit in Brazil and won the International Song Festival.

Outside of the reggae world, he is probably best known for his film appearance in The Harder They Come. Jimmy Cliff was one of five performers inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.

Hard Road to Travel (January 1968)
Jimmy Cliff (December 1969)
Wonderful World, Beautiful People (1970)
Goodbye Yesterday (1970)
Another Cycle (September 1971)
The Harder They Come (1972)
Unlimited (August 1973)
Struggling Man (June 1974)
House of Exile (December 1974)
Brave Warrior (1975)
Follow My Mind (November 1976)
In Concert: The Best of Jimmy Cliff (1976)
Give Thanx (1978)
I Am The Living (July 1980)
Give the People What They Want (September 1981, with the Compass Point All Stars)
Special (July 1982)
The Power and the Glory (October 1983)
Cliff Hanger (August 1985)
Club Paradise (1986)
Hanging Fire (March 1988)
Images (October 1989)
Save Our Planet Earth (October 1990)
Breakout (1992)
Higher and Higher (May 1998)
Journey of Lifetime (1998)
Humanitarian (June 1999)
Fantastic Plastic People (2002)
Black Magic (2004)
Existence (2010)