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Barry Biggs

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Biography

Barry Biggs was born in 1947 (some accounts list 1953 as the year) in St. Andrews, Jamaica. He spent some time as an engineer with the Jamaican Broadcasting Company before entering the music scene as a harmony singer at Clement "Coxsone" Dodd's Studio One and Duke Reid's Treasure Isle studios, and spent time as a member of both the Crystalites and the Astronauts before accepting a position as the lead singer for Byron Lee's Dragonaires. It was at Lee's Dynamic Sounds studio that Biggs recorded his first Jamaican hit, a cover of the Jackson 5's "One Bad Apple," following it up with his first international success, the fine "Work All Day," in 1972. Biggs placed six singles on the U.K. charts between 1976 and 1981, with his biggest hit, "Sideshow," reaching Number Three in December of 1976. Always comfortable being a "do-over man," Biggs covered songs by such American artists as Stevie Wonder, the Chi-Lites and the Temptations, giving each a light reggae do-over. His brand of sweet pop reggae, usually featuring high, double-tracked and heavily echoed lead vocals, was more cosmopolitan than most of his contemporaries, and he avoided the political and Rasta themes then-popular in Jamaica, eschewing the standard image of the dreadlocked rebel for the pop style and fine clothes of the club singer. A solid entertainer (he has been called the Barry White of reggae, a label that hardly seems accurate), Biggs is unlike any other singer in reggae's history.

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