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Biography - Jimmy James


Jimmy James started his musical career, composing and singing, at the early age of 16.

His first successful single ‘Bewildered and Blue’ was followed by another self penned hit ‘Come to Me Softly’ which has become his signature song.

In 1964 he was asked to join as the lead singer with one of Jamaica’s leading bands ‘The Vagabonds’ and together they left Jamaica for what was to be a six month tour of the UK.

The outfit became so popular that they decided to extend the tour and thus ended up being residents of the UK.

Their popularity within the UK provided a platform for them to launch into the rest of Europe.

From 1965 to c.1968 the band headlined at The Marquee in Wardour Street, London. From there they were invited to Hungary to perform a series of concerts, making them the
first ever musical unit from the western hemisphere to have entertained behind the Iron Curtain.

Many tours followed - Tunisia, Germany, Greece, France, Belgium, Holland and others.

In 1966 The Vagabonds recorded their now legendary album, ‘The New Religion’, which really established the outfit as the most sought after working band in the UK. Jimmy’s recording of Neil Diamond's ‘Red, Red Wine’ in 1969, taken from the Vagabonds’ second album ‘Open up your Soul’, gave them their first commercial hit record.

Jimmy has shared the stage with world renowned acts such as The Beatles, The Who, Sonny and Cher, Rod Stewart, The Rolling Stones, Bobby Womack, Solomon Burke, Jimi Hendrix and many others.

In 1970 he signed up to Biddu of the Subbidu Music Corporation and together they produced hits such as ‘A Man Like Me’, ‘Now Is The Time’ and the timeless ‘I’ll Go Where The Music Takes Me’.

In 1989/1990 he was voted best singer/entertainer by the Club Mirror Awards.

He performed at the world famous Cavern Club in Liverpool where his name is enshrined with others on the ‘Wall’.

He has also performed at the Cannes Film Festival.

He was the premier entertainer for the British troops during the UK’s involvement in the Falklands and the Bosnian wars.

He has appeared on numerous Radio and TV shows through out the world.

Jimmy became the first artiste to sing
live on the BBC’s Top of the Pops.

He went on to record several programmes for the BBC at the famous Abbey Road Studio.

Jimmy recently performed at the Barbican Concert Hall for the BBC on their ‘Soul Britannia’ series of programmes with, among others, Sam Moore (Sam & Dave), Eddie Floyd, Madeline Bell, Geno Washington and Eric Burdon (The Animals).

Jimmy performed at The Royal Festival Hall in 2011 with Percy Sledge, Gwen Dickie (Rose Royce), The Flirtations and Hamish Stuart (Average White Band).

Jimmy currently tours with Clem Curtis (The Foundations) and Earnestine Pearce (The Flirtations) in a ‘Soul Explosion’ extravaganza and has recently completed the ‘This is Soul’ tour with Geno Washington and P.P. Arnold.

He continues to play to full houses on the cabaret circuit across England and has appeared with artistes such as The Drifters, The Four Tops and the late Edwin Starr.

More recently, he is in demand as a Headliner on luxury Cruise Liners across the world.

In 2008 Jimmy performed at Jamaica’s Heineken Startime ‘British Invasion’ with Winston Francis, Owen Gray, the legendary John Holt and the now late, great Alton Ellis.

In 2010 he was proud to be honoured by the Jamaican music industry for his continual dedication and pioneering spirit to the world of music.

It has been quoted that “Jimmy is one of those larger than life artistes whose every breath on stage is intertwined with his music. He is rhythm personified”.

“Besides possessing a great voice, a large slice of his appeal is Jimmy’s on stage persona. With his boundless energy and continued ability to rouse an audience into a good time mood, he is one of the masters of the stage”.

The last word comes from Jimmy himself. When asked how he keeps going with such enthusiasm Jimmy says “Music is my life. I still get that buzz when I perform. Whether on stage or in the studio, my goal is to give 100%. When I don’t get that buzz anymore, that’s when I’ll say goodbye”.

Till then he continues to be one of the hardest working men in show business.

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