Don Letts tells the story of the influential UK-based record label that helped Jamaican music reach a wider audience: Tighten Up: The Story of Trojan Records (BBC 6)
Full description: Trojan Records is known as reggae’s Motown and had a huge hand in introducing Jamaican music to the British public. In its hey-day of the late 60s to the mid-70s, Trojan chalked up nearly 30 hit singles, released the legendary Tighten Up compilation series and launched Jamaican acts in the UK such as Jimmy Cliff, John Holt, Ken Boothe, Bob and Marica, and Dave and Ansel Collins. The huge volume of records they released in this period made the name Trojan synonymous with classic rocksteady and reggae cuts. In 1970 alone, Trojan released 500 singles, selling over 1.5 million records.
This series tells not just the story of Trojan Records, but also reveals how Jamaican music arrived in the UK. Discover how it all began with Duke Reid’s Trojan sound system in Jamaica, and how the influx of young Jamaicans into post-war Britain kick-started a reggae scene in the UK. Find out how the British skinheads then made ska and reggae popular in the British charts (when the BBC wasn’t listening!) and how the music adapted to UK tastes to become number one sellers. We also reveal why the whole empire inexplicably came crashing down too, only for punk and Two-Tone to give it a resurgence, helping confirm Trojan as one of the coolest and most important labels for reggae music.
With contributions from Ken Boothe, Bunny Lee, BB Seaton, Derrick Harriot, Dandy Livingstone, John Holt, Ansel Collins, Rico Rodriguez, Bob Andy, Derrick Morgan and many more.
Find out more, or buy some tunes here: Trojan Records Website
If you want to get a general idea of the Trojan Records sound, or just want to give your ears a treat, give this You-Tube playlist a listen: Trojan Records Playlist (You-Tube)