(Jamaica Observer) THE life, music and legacy of veteran Jamaican artiste, John Holt, was on many-a-lip at National Honours and Awards ceremony at King’s House in St Andrew, yesterday.
Holt died in the Wellington Hospital in London early Monday morning (Sunday local time). He was 69.
He was remembered by many for his distinctive sound and the vast body of music he left behind.
Reggae queen Marcia Griffiths was among those who paid tribute to the artiste best known as 1,000 Volts.
“It is a very sad day for me… I am smiling but I am sad. Such a great talent he was, I am not sure his work here was done, but we can’t fly in the face of God. I see where I am losing too many of my brothers and sisters… I am just so sad,” she said.
Griffiths does not have a favourite John Holt track. “Too many great tracks,” she said. “But whenever we were on a show together and he was singing Tonight, I would stay backstage and do harmonies. That song has some great harmonies and I can never allow that to go to waste.”
Producer Donovan Germain was also in a pensive mood as he spoke of the late Holt.
“Trust me, I can’t even explain how I feel. John and I were born on the same street — Nelson Street in Kingston 13, so we had a bond. We were also working on an album. We already did seven of the 14 tracks,” he told the Jamaica Observer.
Music insider Kinglsey Goodison called it a sad day for the music fraternity.
He recalled the fact that one of Holt’s big hits, One Box of Hops, was written while he worked along the assembly line at the local beer company D&G, now Red Stripe.
Guitarist Dwight Pinkney also recalled the timeless nature of Holt’s music.
“He was a great contributor to the development of Jamaican music. When you see that he was part of the industry for about 50 years and was still one of the biggest drawing cards. I played on a number of his recordings over the years, we will certainly miss him a lot.”
The political directorate also weighed in on Holt’s passing.
Culture Minister Lisa Hanna noted: “It is sad that we are losing our artistes who have given so much of their time and talent. John Holt was such a timeless artiste who provided us with timeless music.”
Opposition spokesperson on Culture Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange added Hanna’s sentiments regarding the loss of our great acts.
“John Holt was the perfect example of a talented, patriotic Jamaican who flew the country’s flag high. It is sad that he made his transition on foreign soil. I would have preferred if he had died here in Jamaica surrounded by all of us who love him dearly,” said Grange.