Artist picture of Ernest Ranglin

Ernest Ranglin

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Below The Bassline Ernest Ranglin 04:38
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Congo Man Ernest Ranglin 04:56
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King Tubby Meets The Rockers Ernest Ranglin 05:07
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A crucial figure in the development of ska music, guitarist Ernest Ranglin was also respected for his prowess in jazz and reggae. Born on June 19, 1932 in Manchester, Jamaica, Ranglin was playing with local bands when he met jazz pianist Monty Alexander, who helped set him on his trajectory. He developed a rhythmic guitar style that helped set the template for ska, and he became a fixture at Studio One, the label and studio seen as Jamaica’s analogue to Motown. Along the way he played with the giants of reggae and ska, including Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, and the Skatalites.

He participated in the creation of the soundtrack for Dr. No, the first James Bond movie, and cut several jazz albums in the mid-’60s that helped launch the fledgling label Island Records. He also worked on several significant hits; he played on and arranged “My Boy Lollipop” for Millie Small in 1964, which made it to Number 2 in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada. He also arranged “Rivers of Babylon” for The Melodians in 1970, which became an early classic of reggae. 

By 1973, his contributions to Jamaican culture were deemed significant enough to earn him an Order of Distinction from the Jamaican government. He eventually moved to America and pursued jazz more intently while also making himself available to celebrate the history of the reggae and ska music he helped develop.