Wow, Trojan Records is 50-years-old
Where did the time go? I can’t believe that 2018 marks five decades since the iconic reggae label changed the British musical and cultural landscape, bringing a new sound and ethos to the world.
Planning a year long celebration to commemorate the landmark, Trojan Records will be putting on a series of live events and releasing a catalogue of music releases, including a definitive 50th anniversary box set, a documentary and a coffee table book for those true fans of reggae and its rich culture.
Named after the flatbed truck that revered producer Duke Reid used to move his soundsystem around Jamaica, Trojan was launched in 1968 by London based, Jamaican expats Lee Gopthal and Chris Blackwell (who formed Island Records almost a decade earlier). Initially formed as a UK outlet for Reid’s releases, the label went on to bring the likes of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Desmond Dekker, The Pioneers, Bob Marley, Prince Buster and Jimmy Cliff to a mainstream audience.
Growing rapidly during its early years – due in no small part to the development of the skinhead working class youth movement that embraced Jamaican music as part and parcel of its culture – the Trojan bandwagon quickly rolled into the 1970s with the likes of Desmond Dekker and The Maytals flying high in the UK Pop Charts. Dave & Ansel Collins’ “Double Barrel” provided Trojan with its first UK number one in 1971, while among further major chart entries were hit singles by Ken Boothe, John Holt, Bruce Ruffin, Greyhound and the Pioneers.
Aside from their overtly commercial output, the company also highlighted music by artists largely unknown outside Jamaica, many of which would later become major international recording stars – among these were Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs and a Kingston-based vocal trio called Bob Marley & the Wailers.
Catering for everyone from the casual fan to the deepest Trojan head, the label has started releasing a selection of genre-themed double CD titles that draw inspiration from its legendary back catalogue and include the already released This Is Trojan Ska, This Is Trojan Reggae, This Is Trojan Rock Steady and This Is Trojan Boss Reggae.
Ska & Reggae Classics arrives on May 25th while both This Is Trojan Roots and This Is Trojan Dub will be released on June 22nd.
The stand out however is the label’s 50th Anniversary box set, a definitive collector’s item that drops July 27th and includes 4x 12″ LP, 6CD, 2 x 7″ vinyl, an album covers book, 7″ adapter, poster, patch and slipmat.
Trojan Records’ Laurence Cane-Honeysett said of the label’s landmark anniversary:
“Trojan’s place in the development of mainstream popular culture should never be underestimated. Often hailed as the Motown or Blue Note of reggae, the company introduced the sound of Jamaica to a global audience and by so doing was instrumental in forever changing the sound of popular music. A success story that is both British and Jamaican, its importance is reflected in the fact that after 50 years in business, Trojan continues to attract music fans the world over.”
If you’re interested in checking out any of Trojan’s upcoming live events the dates are as follows:
● Monthly club nights every 2nd Saturday of the month. The Social, London
● 25th May: 50th, Picture House, Sheffield
● 22nd June: Kala Festival, Albania
● 7th July: NASS Festival, Somerset UK
● 19th July: Dub Camp (Nantes) 50th special headline with Dawn Penn, Ranking Joe and Dennis Alcapone
● 27th July: Jazzaldia Fest (San Sebastian) 50th special with Dawn Penn and Dennis Alcapone
● 28th July: Lunar Festival (Birmingham)
● 5th August 2018: Eastern Electrics Festival (London)
● 5th August: London Craft Beer Festival
● 26th August: Festival Le Cabaret Vert, Charleville-Mezieres, France
● 8th Sept: Toots Fest at Alexandra Palace, (London)
● 14th September: The Globe, (Cardiff)
More dates and details to be announced.