A VERY PLEASANT WEDNESDAY VISIT WITH ICON BOB ANDY,
INNER CIRCLE’S OWN ROGER & IAN LEWIS, TOUTER HARVEY AND THE CIRCLE VILLAGE FAMILY IN HEARTICAL REMEMBERANCE OF THE LATE GREAT JACOB MILLER ~ MAY HE R.I.P.
A VERY PLEASANT WEDNESDAY VISIT WITH ICON BOB ANDY,
6. Jacob Miller’s favorite phrase was “Ever’ting is great.” He was known to use it almost compulsively, sometimes repeating it several times in the same short conversation. In fact, he loved the phrase so much that it ended up being the title of the group’s 1979 debut for Island Records. The title track became a Top 20 hit in the UK and a Top 10 smash in France, and the album produced the popular singles “Mary, Mary” and “Music Machine.”
7. Miller recorded under the name “Ted Miller” on sides cut for legendary producer Joe Gibbs.
8. Jacob Miller lists his greatest musical influences as The Delfonics, The Stylistics, James Brown, The Beatles and Elvis Presley. Presley had an overwhelming impact on Miller’s stage persona and Miller credits him with teaching him how to perform on-stage. As he describes in an interview with journalist Chris Salewicz in 1979:
“I used to go to the cinema all the time to see his films. [He] had so much energy. But Presley died before I could meet him.”
9. Miller’s life was transformed when he met dub reggae maestro and devoted Rastafarian Augustus Pablo, who ironically was also a member of the Inner Circle band earlier in his career. Miller was one of several youths (including Hugh Mundell and Junior Reid) Pablo took under his wing, introducing them to Rastafari and music. It is the Pablo-produced “Baby I Love You So” and its version titled “King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown” that have become Miller’s signature and most enduring singles. The song was released as a 45 rpm single in 1974 on the Mango label (MS-2001), with “King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown” as the a-side. With Pablo Miller also recorded singles such as “Each One Teach One,” “Keep On Knocking,” “False Rasta,” and “Who Say Jah No Dread.”
10. On his way to becoming an international reggae superstar after a brilliant performance in the 1978 film ROCKERS and a legendary performance at the One Love Peace Concert on April 22, 1978, Miller, 25, was killed in a tragic car accident on March 23, 1980. The car crash also took the lives of two children, one of them Jacob’s son. Miller’s funeral was held one week later on March 30, 1980 at the National Arena in Kingston. The funeral featured notable speakers Dudley Thompson, National Security Minister, and Archbishop Yeshaq of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, who conducted the service and eulogized Miller. The service also featured playing and chanting by Cedric Im Brooks and the Light of Saba. Jacob Miller was laid to rest later that day at Dovecot Memorial Park, the same place that fellow Rockers musician Hugh Mundell is interred three short years later.
“If reggae lost its soul when Marley died, it lost its heart when Miller died.” – Jah Raver
Jacob Matthias Miller is one of reggae’s greatest treasures. In addition to being one of reggae’s most talented vocalists, he brought an unmatched energy and an excitement to reggae. His live performances are the stuff of legend. I was speaking recently with one of the members of Light Of Saba about a totally unrelated topic when out of the blue he said:
“You know Jacob Miller and Inner Circle were such an extraordinary force on-stage. He was so raw and so free. It is really remarkable. Most people either don’t recall or don’t understand. The vibe of those shows was like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. I guess the closest thing I could compare it to would be when I saw Marilyn Manson and Judas Priest live in California several years back. You know, I left that show so high on music, so amped up and out of this world that it took days to shake it. That is the only other time in my life I’ve experienced anything like an Inner Circle show from that era.”
This week’s episode of The Caribbean Diaspora Weekly – South Florida Edition (Episode 9) features interview clips with Tanya-Marie Design, Franz Hall and Debra Ehrhardt. Also footage from The Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival and interviews by Carla Codallo Hill. Cameos by Sydney Roberts, our Consul General, Wayne Golding, Christopher “Johnny” Daley, Abebe Lewis, Inner Circle, Grace Foods reps Kimberley Lue Lim and Joy Thomas, and even Lukkee Chong. Brenda Santana and Chef Irie are in there too.
Jacob Miller, one of the most influential singers in reggae, will be ‘guest of honour’ at next year’s Rebel Salute which takes place January 16-17 at Richmond Estate in Priory, St. Ann.
Chief organiser Tony Rebel says it is a “great privilege” to pay homage to the chunky vocalist who was killed at age 27 in an auto accident in 1980.
The Miller segment will feature Inner Circle and Third World, two bands Miller was closely associated. Both appeared on Rebel Salute in 2006 when it was held at Kaiser Sports Club in St Elizabeth.
Roger Lewis, co-founder of Inner Circle, is looking forward to the show especially as it is a salute to the man he knew as ‘Jakes’.
“Jakes was a number one prankster who loved life 24/7…never took life too seriously. Loved music and singing,” said Lewis.
Along with his younger brother Ian on bass, guitarist Stephen ‘Cat’ Coore and keyboardist Michael ‘Ibo’ Cooper, Lewis started Inner Circle in 1968, while still students at Jamaica College. Coore and Cooper formed Third World four years later.
The band played the Kingston live show scene during the early 1970s. Mid decade, they were joined by Miller who sang lead on some of their biggest hits including Tired Fi Lick Weed in a Bush, Forward Never and Backward Never and Shaky Girl.
Prior to his death, Miller – who appeared in the 1978 low-budget movie Rockers – had returned from a trip to Brazil with Bob Marley.