Jamaican musician, actor, singer, songwriter, producer, humanitarian, and global music legend Jimmy Cliff on Aug. 6, Jamaica’s Independence Day, released “Human Touch,” his first offering of new music in almost 10 years.
Ronnie Tomlinson, a Brooklyn-based entertainment publicist, told Caribbean Life on Monday that “Human Touch” was written to promote human interaction just in time for post-COVID realities and “exudes” Cliff’s “spiritual maturity.”
“As an African descendant, I am blessed and happy to display our unique human story of survival and triumph and to clothe this stage of my musical journey in the great achievements and lessons of ancient Egyptian enlightenment that has so influenced the recent centuries of human civilization as reflected in obelisks and other Pharaonic monuments in the major cities and culture of the ‘New World,’” Cliff said.
As one of the last surviving members of the great generation of Reggae pioneers who have since passed — Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Toots Hibbert — Tomlinson said Cliff helped bring the genre to all corners of the globe and helped it gain worldwide popularity.
“Jimmy Cliff’s impact on music and culture is inescapable,” said the chief executive officer of Destine Media, noting that Cliff received Jamaica’s highest honor “The Order of Merit.”
Tomlinson said Cliff is one of only two Jamaican Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees; Bob Marley being the other.
She said Cliff’s critically-acclaimed album,”Rebirth,” was awarded the GRAMMY Award for “Best Reggae Album” and was selected as one of Rolling Stone’s “50 Best Albums of 2012.”
Tomlinson said immortal anthems, including “Wonderful World, Beautiful People”; “You Can Get It If You Really Want”; “The Harder They Come”; and many of his other singles, such as “Wild World” and “Hakuna Matata” (with Lebo M.) have had chart success across the globe including Australia, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and New Zealand.
“Everyone from Annie Lennox to Paul Simon has sought him out for collaborations, while Bruce Springsteen, Willie Nelson, Cher, New Order, and Fiona Apple have recorded notable covers,” Tomlinson said.
She said Springsteen’s “Trapped” was included on the “We Are The World” benefit album.
Dylan described Cliff’s track “Vietnam,” “the greatest protest song ever written.”
A distinctive screen presence, Tomlinson said Cliff had a starring role in the film and on the soundtrack for the 1972 classic “The Harder They Come,” which drew international spotlight on reggae.
Tomlinson said Cliff’s career in film includes his wonderful version of “I Can See Clearly Now,” from the “Cool Runnings” soundtrack.
His other film appearances include “Club Paradise”, “Muscle Shoals” and “Marked For Death.”
“Afrobeats and reggaeton dominance in streaming popular music pulsate from Jimmy Cliff’s roots, influencing global music genres, with his residencies in Latin America and Africa,” Tomlinson said.
“2021 promises to be another pivotal year in Cliff’s career, as he prepares for the release of his upcoming album, and celebrates the 60th anniversary of the founding of Beverly Records,” she added.
Tomlinson said 2022 will mark the 50th anniversary of the acclaimed film and soundtrack, “The Harder They Come.”