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Errol Thompson

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b. 29 December 1948, Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies, d. 14 November 2004, Jamaica, West Indies. Errol ‘ET’ Thompson was one of Jamaica’s most influential recording engineers, working with many of the country’s leading reggae artists from the late 60s until the mid-80s. In 1968 Thompson served a short apprenticeship at Studio One, working with Max Romeo on his international hit ‘Wet Dream’. He then began working for Joel Gibson (later Joe Gibbs), following in the footsteps of Lee Perry, who had ventured into his own Black Ark Recording Studio. Thompson was working alongside Winston ‘Niney’ Holness at Randy’s Studio in North Parade as a recording engineer. With Gibbs as the producer and Thompson as the engineer, they had a run of hits throughout the 70s. Early in the decade they produced popular singles by Peter Tosh (‘Maga Dog’), Dennis Brown (‘Money In My Pocket’), Big Youth (‘Foreman Vs Frazier’) and Delroy Wilson (‘Pretty Girl’). The early hits were recorded in a two-track studio at the back of Gibbs’ record shop, but the duo’s success led to the relocation to North Parade, known as Joe Gibbs Record Globe (the site was used in the film Rockers). At the new studio the duo became known as the Mighty Two and Thompson’s more prominent role as producer for Joe Gibbs productions was acknowledged by the formation of the Errol T and Belmont labels. By the mid-70s, many artists had had hits produced by the Mighty Two, including Culture (‘Two Sevens Clash’), Bobby Melody (‘Jah Bring I Joy’), Trinity (‘Three Piece Suit’), Ruddy Thomas (‘Loving Pauper’), Prince Far I (‘Heavy Manners’), Big Youth (‘Equal Rights Style’) and Dennis Brown (‘Money In My Pocket’). Brown’s remake of his earlier hit entered the UK Top 20 in 1979, but was preceded in 1977 by the number 1 single ‘Up Town Top Ranking’ by Althea And Donna, which had ‘Calico Suit’ credited to the Mighty Two on the b-side. Gibbs and Thompson continued to dominate the reggae charts with a number of Dennis Brown albums and a series of dub releases, notably the African Dub series. In the late 70s/early 80s the duo worked with Eek A Mouse (‘Virgin Girl’) and Yellowman (‘Which One A Dem A Wear De Ring’). Gibbs left for Miami, Florida in the early 80s and in 1983 there were rumours that Thompson had been attacked and died in Kingston. He was still alive but reduced to working in a supermarket because of an ongoing legal dispute. Thompson reunited with Gibbs in the early 90s and made a low-key return to production work, overseeing releases by veteran artists and new talent. Thompson died in November 2004 following a series of strokes.


29 December 1948 in Kingston, Jamaica

Years Active:

'60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s