Jay Douglas, Drake
Jay Douglas, Drake

Toronto Reggae Hall of Fame Launched

Toronto, long recognized as a key city on the international reggae scene, has created its own Reggae Hall of Fame to recognize residents who have played a key role in boosting the genre, at home and abroad.
The CNE Bandshell on Thursday, Aug. 27th was a fitting venue for the launch, as it came in between sets by two reggae legends, Jay Douglas and Leroy Sibbles. Making the annoucement and inducting the first three Hall of Fame members were four (yes, four) Toronto City Councillors: Josh Colle, Michael Thompson, Shelley Carroll and John Filion.
The three inductees are vocalist/bandleader Jay Douglas, drummer Everton 'Pablo' Paul, and keyboardist/producer Bernie Pitters. Douglas and Paul first played together in noted '60s R'n'B band The Cougars and still work together (Paul also plays in Rhythm Express, the all-star combo headed by FYI contributor Bill King), while Pitters toured the world with reggae superstars Toots and The Maytals. All three honorees were present for their induction.

It occurs to this observer that CNE show headliner Leroy Sibbles merits future induction himself. As the singer in '60s and '70s Jamaican rocksteady/reggae favourites in The Heptones and as a bassist that helped forge the crucial Studio One sound, he's a genuine reggae legend. He based himself in Toronto for two decades from 1973 on, and was a pivotal figure on the T.O. scene then.

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