Clement “Coxsone” Dodd and His Studio One

Considered as one of the leading and most famous record labels in Jamaica, Studio One was founded in 1957 by Clement “Coxsone” Dodd, a cane cutter who used to work in the United States and returned to his homeland. It was in the United States that Dodd encountered rhythm and blues and when he went back to Jamaica, he became one of the first mobile disco operators in his country and soon created Studio One.

Born on January 26, 1932 in Kingston, Jamaica, Dodd started playing records at an early age. Among his first audience then were his family’s customers in their own shop. He was nicknamed “Coxsone” in school because of his talent as a cricketer, where his classmates compared him to Alec Coxon, a famous member of the Yorkshire County Cricket Club team during the 1940s.

When Dodd returned to Jamaica, he brought his turntable, amplifier, and some records from the US and founded Downbeat Sound System in 1954. His business became successful that he would often go back to the US to look for new records in order to attract his Jamaican customers.

During the 1960s and 1970s, Studio One has been involved with major music movements in Jamaica such as ska, reggae, dancehall, and rocksteady. Some of the early recordings of Studio One were Theophilus Beckford’s “Easy Snappin” (backed up by Clue J & His Blues Blasters) and Don Drummond’s “This Man is Back.” Other recordings of Studio One featured various artists such as Bob Marley, The Ethiopians, The Skatalites, The Wailers, Burning Spear, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Toots & the Maytals and more.

In the 1980s, Dodd decided to move back to New York City and closed down his studio and recording label. Studio one will always be remembered in Jamaica because of its rich contribution to music, truly, something that gave pride to Jamaican flag.

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