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Marcia Griffiths

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Biography

In a genre traditionally dominated by male artists, Marcia Griffiths is arguably the best-known and most influential woman in the history of reggae. Griffiths first made a name for herself when the music was still evolving from its roots in ska and rocksteady, and she later became an ally of reggae's signature artist, Bob Marley, before embracing the electronic-based sounds of dancehall and funk in the 1980s. Marcia Llyneth Griffiths was born in Kingston, Jamaica on November 23, 1949 (though Griffiths has sometimes told journalists she was born in 1953). She displayed an interest in music early on, singing in the church choir and regularly taking part in musical presentations at school, and she made her first steps toward a professional career when she was 15. Griffiths was singing at a friend's party when she was overheard by Phillip "Boasie" James, a member of the vocal group the Blues Busters, who was visiting his girlfriend next door. James was impressed with Griffiths' talent, and arranged for her to take part in an upcoming talent competition. Griffiths wowed the audience and was immediately invited to perform on a television variety show the same evening. After this successful debut, she became a singer with Byron Lee & the Dragonaires, one of Jamaica's most popular ska outfits, and was signed to a record deal with Studio One, the pioneering label founded by producer Clement "Coxsone" Dodd. Griffiths scored her first major hit with the 1967 single "Feel Like Jumping," a rocksteady number that charted in Jamaica and Great Britain, and she would also enjoy chart success with the tunes "Melody Life" and "Truly" before cutting her first album, Marcia Griffiths at Studio One. In 1969, she first teamed up with Bob Andy of the Paragons as a duet partner, and when she moved from Studio One to the Trojan-affiliated Harry J label (run by musician and producer Harry Johnson), Andy followed suit, and their interpretation of Nina Simone's "Young, Gifted and Black" became a major international hit in 1970. Bob and Marcia hit the charts again in 1971 with "The Pied Piper," but in 1974 the duo parted ways and Griffiths released her second solo album, Sweet Bitter Love. In 1974, after Peter Tosh and Bunny Livingston left the Wailers, Bob Marley wanted to fill out the vocal sound of the group, and added a trio of female singers to the Wailers' lineup. Griffiths became a member of the I-Threes alongside Rita Marley and Judy Mowatt, and after making their debut with Marley on the groundbreaking album Natty Dread, they were an integral part of the Wailers on-stage and in the studio until Marley's death in 1981. The I-Threes also cut a pair of albums on their own after Marley's passing, 1983's Beginning and 1995's Songs of Bob Marley. Griffiths continued to record as a solo artist during her down time from the Wailers, cutting a pair of albums with producer Sonia Pottinger, 1978's Naturally and 1979's Steppin'. In 1982, Griffiths cut an uptempo dance tune, "Electric Boogie," which quickly became a major hit in Jamaica. The song gained an unexpected second life in 1989, when a disc jockey in Washington D.C. began spinning the record on a regular basis; the seven-year-old track jumped into the American charts, boosted by radio airplay as well as the growing popularity of a dance inspired by the song, the Electric Slide. ("Electric Boogie" also popped up on an album released by Island in America in 1990, Carousel.) As the Electric Slide became a regular feature at weddings and family get-togethers, "Electric Boogie" became a perennial favorite and established Griffiths in the United States. Through the '90s and into the 21st century, Griffiths has continued to record and tour internationally on a regular basis, releasing albums that run the gamut from polished love songs to roots reggae to fiery dancehall sides (dueting with the likes of Shaggy, Buju Banton, and Cutty Ranks); she also reunited with Bob Andy for a pair of duet albums, Really Together in 1990 and Sweet Memories in 1997. ~ Mark Deming
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Top Tracks

  1.   Track
    Popularity
  2.   Electric Boogie
  3.   Half Idiot by Cutty Ranks
  4.   My Ambition
  5.   Where Were You
  6.   Don't Let Me Down
  7.   We've Got To Get Ourselves Together
  8.   If You Knew
  9.   Baby if You Don't Love Me
  10.   Dreamland
  11.   Private Number
  12.   Put a Little Love in Your Heart
  13.   Love Walked In
  14.   Everything I Own
  15.   I See You, My Love
  16.   You're Mine
  17.   Dearest by Sanchez
  18.   My Life
  19.   My Heartbeat
  20.   Run Up and Down
  21.   Riddim Affi Roll featuring Annette Brissett
  22.   Undying Love by Anthony B
  23.   Want Love by Tanya Stephens
  24.   Love Is a Treasure
  25.   Harmony by Shaggy
  26.   A House Is Not a Home
  27.   Human Rights
  28.   I Don't Care
  29.   When the Lights Are Low by John Holt
  30.   Knew You Were Waiting for Me (aka I Knew You Were Waiting) by Duane Stephenson
  31.   Things No So Right by Tony Rebel
  32.   Nightfall
  33.   When Will I See You Again
  34.   Until You Come Back to Me
  35.   Live Life to the Fullest by Hopeton Lindo
  36.   Why There Is No Love
  37.   There's No Me Without You
  38.   Give Me Your Loving by Cutty Ranks
  39.   First Time I Ever Saw Your Face
  40.   Automatic (Keeping It Real) by Busy Signal
  41.   Help Me Up
  42.   My Love
  43.   Then Came You
  44.   Pied Piper
  45.   Lies
  46.   Everlasting
  47.   Certified
  48.   Do Unto Others
  49.   Things Not So Right by Tony Rebel
  50.   Gypsy Man
  51.   Lonesome Feeling
  52.   Stand by Your Man featuring Assassin
  53.   If Only You Knew by Mikey Spice
  54.   Can I Change My Mind
  55.   Fire Burning
  56.   The One Who Really Loves You
  57.   I Got to Cry
  58.   Woman of the Ghetto
  59.   Stay Forever In Dub
  60.   Secret In Dub
  61.   Stepping To Zion featuring Beenie Man
  62.   Mama Say featuring Suga Roy
  63.   One Draw by Fab Five
  64.   Capture Rasta
  65.   I'd Rather Be Lonely
  66.   Cool by Cutty Ranks
  67.   Fe Fi Fo Fum featuring Cutty Ranks
  68.   Live And We Learn
  69.   Column This
  70.   Secret
  71.   Holding You Close
  72.   Say Something
  73.   100% of Loving by Ziggi Recado
  74.   Mama Say featuring Conrad crystal
  75.   When You Give Your Heart
  76.   Stay Forever
  77.   100% of Loving
  78.   Really Together 2
  79.   Won't You Come Over
  80.   Let Me Be Yours Until Tomorrow
  81.   Watch Out for That
  82.   Heathen
  83.   Ebony & Ivory
  84.   Check It Out featuring Buju Banton
  85.   Woman by Lady G.
  86.   A True by Richie Stephens
  87.   Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now by Da'Ville
  88.   Number One
  89.   Round and Round by Queen Ifrica
  90.   I See Love by Buju Banton
  91.   Reggae Calling
  92.   So Much In Love by Gyptian
  93.   A Beer And A Girl
  94.   When You Giving Your Heart
  95.   Work and Slave
  96.   Play Me, Pt. 2
  97.   It's Not Funny by Bunny Ruggs
  98.   Story
  99.   Stepping Out a Babylon
  100.   Wave Your Banner
  101.   Oh My Darling