Trench Town – The Birthplace Of Reggae

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Trench Town is arguably Jamaica’s most famous community, forever immortalised in song by none other than Bob Marley, with The Wailers tunes No Woman No Cry and the titular Trench Town and Trench Town Rock. Although Marley is its most famous (past) resident, no one can argue against the fact that Trench Town is the birthplace of Jamaican music – not just reggae, but its predecessors ska and rocksteady, as well as its descendant, dancehall. Most of the popular names in the canon of Jamaican music were either born and/or raised in the community or recorded or produced their work there.

During a three-hour walking tour of Trench Town in 2010, resident Junior Lincoln reeled off a list of singers who have lived in Trench Town, street by street. Among them were:

  • Marley, Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh and Wailing Souls on First Street
  • Delroy Wilson on Second Street
  • Joe Higgs, Adina Edwards, Junior Braithwaite and Lord Tanamo on Third Street
  • Strangejah Cole and Ken Boothe on the extension to Third Street
  • Jimmy, Desmond and Junior Tucker, Cynthia Schloss, Dean Francis and Ernest Ranglin on Fourth Street
  • Lascelles Perkins, Alton and Hortense Ellis, Rastafarian elder Mortimo Planno, Collis Robinson, Dobby Dobson and Noel ‘Scully’ Simms on Fifth Street
  • The Folkes Brothers, Bunny Robinson, The Paragons and The Techniques on Sixth Street
  • Wilfred ‘Jackie’ Edwards, Eddie (of Alton and Eddie) on Seventh Street
  • Above Seventh Street were Toots and the Maytals, Leroy Sibbles, Bongo Herman, members of The Clarendonians and Roy Shirley

Other famous names to come out of or record in the community include Clement ‘Sir Coxsone’ Dodd, Duke Reid, Prince Buster, Marcia Griffiths, Rita Marley, Judy Mowatt, Bob Andy, John Holt, Dennis Brown, Horace Andy, Don Drummond, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and King Tubby.