The Starlites Biography

Earl ‘Chinna’ Smith, George ‘Fully’ Fullwood, Carlton ‘Santa’ Davis and Tony Chin have consistently provided solid backing to many of Jamaica’s top performers, including Big Youth, Peter Tosh and also his son Andrew Tosh. The players originally performed as the nucleus of the Soul Syndicate band, which featured a variety of lead vocalists including Freddie McGregor and Stanley Beckford (17 February 1942, Portland, Jamaica, West Indies, d. 30 March 2007, St. Catherine, Jamaica, West Indies). In 1973, following his departure from the Soul Syndicate, Beckford formed the Starlites, recording with Alvin ‘GG’ Ranglin. The group released a series of successful local hits in Kingston, including ‘Healing In The Barnyard’, ‘Hold My Hand’, ‘Mama Dee’ and ‘You Are A Wanted Man’. The singles showcased Beckford’s performances in patois, which proved popular among the Jamaican audience. In 1975 the group enjoyed their biggest hit with ‘Soldering’, popular Jamaican slang for the sexual act. The single was immediately banned by RJR and JBC, which probably enhanced the financial success of the record. The tune was successfully covered by Big Youth on 1975’s Dread Locks Dread as ‘Natty Dread She Want’.

Unfortunately, the Starlites were unable to repeat the success of the song and by the late 70s, the group had disbanded. Beckford resurfaced at the Jamaican Song Festival with the Turbynes/Turbines, who were victorious with ‘Come Sing With Me’. A number of local hits, produced with Alvin ‘GG’ Ranglin, surfaced, including ‘Where Have All The Young Girls Gone’, ‘Balm Yard’ and the calypso-influenced ‘Carnival’. Beckford restated his position as a song festival performer with a second victory in 1987, when he performed ‘Dem Haffe Squirm’, which was followed by a sporadic output with his new group the Blue Gaze Mento Band. He succumbed to throat cancer in 2007.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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