Sounds Visual Radio
Sounds Visual Radio
Episode 164: Clinton Fearon

Jamaica-born composer/singer/songwriter/vocalist/musician Clinton Fearon is best known as the bassist, vocalist and lyricist for the mythic Gladiators. He also worked as a session musician for Coxsone Dodd in Studio One and Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry at Black Ark, two of the main producers on the island at this time. Fearon also composed some everlasting bass lines for well-known artists like Yabby You, Jimmy Riley, Max Romeo, Junior Byles and many others.

Fearon was born near Kingston, and quickly moved to St. Catherine, a rural Jamaican province. He was heavily influenced by the music found at his local Seventh-day Adventist church. Fearon returned to Kingston at age 16, where he founded his first band, The Brothers. Errol Grandison, who first encountered Fearon through his work with The Brothers, quickly offered him a chance to replace David Webber as the third member of The Gladiators. He joined the group in 1969, first as a singer and then as a bass player and background vocalist after the departure of both Grandison and David Webber. Fearon remained with the group until 1987, often appearing as the leader on songs including “Chatty Chatty Mouth,” “Rich Man Poor Man,” “Get Ready” and “Let Jah Be Praised”. During these years, he also worked as a session-man for a range of artists, including Coxsone, Lee Perry, Joe Higgs, Yabby You, Joseph Hookim and Prince Tony Robinson.

By the late 1980s, Fearon began to feel artistically crowded after nearly two decades of playing with the same band. As such, Fearon left the band and settled in Seattle, Washington following the Gladiators’ 1987 American tour in order to launch his solo career. His first project in the United States, The Defenders, enjoyed a moderate success with the EP “Rock Your Bones” released in 1989. The group was short-lived, and disbanded in 1992.

In 1994, Fearon reorganized his musical vision by forming The Boogie Brown Band. The group’s debut album, Disturb the Devil, marked the beginning of Fearon’s successful solo career and features Barbara Kennedy on keyboards, Lamar Lofton on bass, Girt Bolo on drums and John Saba on guitar. He followed this release with a series of other albums produced by his newborn record label, Boogie Brown Productions.

Notable releases under Boogie Brown Productions also include Mi An’ Mi Guitar, a 2005 acoustic album that refashions classic Gladiators recordings such as “Richman Poorman” and “Streets Of Freedom.” Clinton Fearon followed Mi An’ Mi Guitar with his 2006 album Vision, which is composed of long, melodic songs that masterfully complement his earlier solo releases. In 2008, he released Faculty Of Dub, featuring all original music as well as his own bass playing for the first time in nearly two decades.

Clinton splits his time between Seattle and France, and continues to tour with The Boogie Brown Band. His 2012 album Heart And Soul reached number 20 of the World Music Charts Europe in August 2012. 

His most recent album, Breaking News, was released in 2022.

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