By Carolina de Busto
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By RFT Music
By Christian Schaeffer
Legendary Jamaican producer Coxsone Dodd saw a bright, shining star in Marcia Griffiths before she'd even reached the age of ten. In 1963 he pleaded with Griffiths' father to allow him to record the vocal prodigy; after Dodd obtained the necessary consent, the young girl's tutelage at the Studio One facility in Kingston began. In 1968, at the ripe age of 14, Griffiths had her first number-one hit in Jamaica with the rocksteady tune "Feel Like Jumping." Over the next few years, her partnership with singer/songwriter Bob Andy flourished, and in 1970 their light interpretation of Nina Simone's "To Be Young, Gifted and Black" attained massive crossover success in the UK and Europe.
Griffiths formed the I-Threes with Rita Marley and Judy Mowatt in 1975, when the departure of Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh from the Wailers left gaping holes in the band's strong vocal harmonies. After Bob Marley's death in 1981, Griffiths immediately returned to extensive solo recording and hasn't stopped since. When her 1982 recording of Bunny Wailer's "Electric Boogie" hit American fans in 1989, that annoying social ritual known as the Electric Slide came into being and creeped lots of people out (according to reports, the dance is still done at wedding receptions and in more remote areas of the countryside).
Now revered as the hardest working, most successful female vocalist in reggae's history, Griffiths has recorded songs in every style of Jamaican music, and her lilting, clear-as-a-bell voice is known the world over. She's been dubbed the undisputed Queen of Reggae and shows no signs of abdicating the throne anytime soon. All hail the Queen!