Mikey Dread

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Mikey Dread
Mikey Dread performing at the 2006 Winnipeg Ska and Reggae Festival.
Background information
Birth nameMichael George Campbell
Born(1954-06-04)4 June 1954
Port Antonio, Jamaica
Died15 March 2008(2008-03-15) (aged 53)
Stamford, Connecticut, United States
Occupation(s)Singer, author, composer, record producer, and broadcaster
Years active1978–2008
Associated acts The Clash
Website mikeydread.com

Michael George Campbell (4 June 1954 – 15 March 2008 [1] ), better known as Mikey Dread, [2] was a Jamaican singer, producer, and broadcaster. He was one of the most influential performers and innovators in reggae music.

Reggae Music genre from Jamaica

Reggae is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in the late 1960s. The term also denotes the modern popular music of Jamaica and its diaspora. A 1968 single by Toots and the Maytals, "Do the Reggay" was the first popular song to use the word "reggae", effectively naming the genre and introducing it to a global audience. While sometimes used in a broad sense to refer to most types of popular Jamaican dance music, the term reggae more properly denotes a particular music style that was strongly influenced by traditional mento as well as American jazz and rhythm and blues, especially the New Orleans R&B practiced by Fats Domino and Allen Toussaint, and evolved out of the earlier genres ska and rocksteady. Reggae usually relates news, social gossip, and political comment. Reggae spread into a commercialized jazz field, being known first as "Rudie Blues", then "Ska", later "Blue Beat", and "Rock Steady". It is instantly recognizable from the counterpoint between the bass and drum downbeat, and the offbeat rhythm section. The immediate origins of reggae were in ska and rocksteady; from the latter, reggae took over the use of the bass as a percussion instrument.



Born in Port Antonio, [3] one of five children, from an early age, Campbell showed a natural aptitude for engineering and electronics. [4] As a teenager he performed with the Safari and Sound of Music sound systems, and worked on his high school's radio station. [5]

Port Antonio Place in Surrey, Jamaica

Port Antonio is the capital of the parish of Portland on the northeastern coast of Jamaica, about 60 miles (100 km) from Kingston. It had a population of 12,285 in 1982 and 13,246 in 1991. It is the island's third largest port, famous as a shipping point for bananas and coconuts, as well as one of its most important tourist attractions, tourism being a major contributor to the town’s economy.

Electronics physics, engineering, technology and applications that deal with the emission, flow and control of electrons in vacuum and matter

Electronics comprises the physics, engineering, technology and applications that deal with the emission, flow and control of electrons in vacuum and matter.

In Jamaican popular culture, a sound system is a group of disc jockeys, engineers and MCs playing ska, rocksteady or reggae music. The sound system is an important part of Jamaican culture and history.

He studied electrical engineering at the College of Arts, Science and Technology, and in 1976, started out as an engineer with the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation (JBC). [4] [5] [6] Campbell wasn't impressed that the JBC's playlists mainly consisted of bland, foreign pop music at a time when some of the most potent reggae was being recorded in Jamaica. He convinced his JBC bosses to give him his own radio program called Dread at the Controls, where he played almost exclusively reggae. [3] [4] Before long, Campbell (now using the DJ name Mikey Dread) had the most popular program on the JBC. Well known for its fun and adventurous sonic style, Dread at the Controls became a hit all over Jamaica. Examples of Mikey Dread's distinctive radio chatter can be heard on the US release of the RAS label LP African Anthem Dubwise.

The Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation (JBC) was a public broadcasting company in Jamaica founded in 1959 by premier Norman Manley with the aim of emulating the success of other national broadcasting companies such as the BBC and CBC.

He also began working as a recording artist, Lee "Scratch" Perry producing his signature tune "Dread at the Controls", also recording for Sonia Pottinger and Joe Gibbs, and performing with the Socialist Roots sound system. [3] [5] Inevitably, JBC's conservative management and Campbell clashed, and he quit in protest in 1978, becoming an engineer at the Treasure Isle studio, where he began an association with producer Carlton Patterson. [3] They co-produced Dread's own work (e.g. "Barber Saloon") and that of others. [3]

Lee "Scratch" Perry Jamaican reggae producer

Lee "Scratch" Perry OD is a Jamaican music producer, inventor and singer noted for his innovative studio techniques and production style. Perry was a pioneer in the 1970s development of dub music with his early adoption of remixing and studio effects to create new instrumental or vocal versions of existing reggae tracks. He has worked with and produced for a wide variety of artists, including Bob Marley and the Wailers, Junior Murvin, the Congos, Max Romeo, Adrian Sherwood, the Beastie Boys, Ari Up, The Clash, The Orb and many others.

Sonia Eloise Pottinger OD was a Jamaican reggae record producer.

By the late 1970s he had started his own DATC label, working with artists such as Edi Fitzroy, Sugar Minott, and Earl Sixteen, as well as producing his own work. [3] The label released Dread's albums Evolutionary Rockers (released in the UK as Dread at the Controls), and World War III.

Edi Fitzroy Jamaican musician

Fitzroy Edwards, better known by his stage name Edi Fitzroy, was a Jamaican reggae singer, active from 1975 but best known for his work during the dancehall era.

Sugar Minott Jamaican musician

Lincoln Barrington "Sugar" Minott was a Jamaican reggae singer, producer and sound-system operator.

Earl Sixteen is a reggae singer whose career began in the mid-1970s.

Campbell's music attracted the attention of British punk rockers The Clash, who invited him over to England to tour with them in 1980, going on to produce some of their music. [3] [7] [8] Although initially suspicious of the strangers, Campbell soon became the best of friends with the band, producing their famous "Bankrobber" single [9] and performing on several songs on their 1980 album Sandinista! . [10] Campbell also toured with The Clash across Britain, Europe, and the US, gaining many new fans along the way. [10] He studied at the National Broadcasting School in London in 1980 and in 1984 studied advanced recording technology at the North London Polytechnic. [4]

The Clash English punk band

The Clash were an English rock band formed in London in 1976 as a key player in the original wave of British punk rock. They have also contributed to the post-punk and new wave movements that emerged in the wake of punk and employed elements of a variety of genres including reggae, dub, funk, ska, and rockabilly. For most of their recording career, the Clash consisted of lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Joe Strummer, lead guitarist and lead vocalist Mick Jones, bassist Paul Simonon, and drummer Nicky "Topper" Headon. Headon left the group in 1982 and internal friction led to Jones' departure the following year. The group continued with new members, but finally disbanded in early 1986.

Bankrobber 1980 single by The Clash

"Bankrobber" is a song by The Clash. The song was not released on any of their studio albums, instead appearing on their compilation Black Market Clash. Upon its 1980 release as a single it peaked at number 12 on the UK Singles Chart, and at number 14 on both the Irish Singles Chart and the New Zealand Singles Chart.

<i>Sandinista!</i> 1980 studio album by The Clash

Sandinista! is the fourth studio album by English punk rock band The Clash. It was released on 12 December 1980 as a triple album containing 36 tracks, with 6 songs on each side. Anticipating the world music trend of the 1980s, it features funk, reggae, jazz, gospel, rockabilly, folk, dub, rhythm and blues, calypso, disco, and rap. For the first time, the band's traditional songwriting credits of Strummer and Jones were replaced by a generic credit to the Clash, and the band agreed to a decrease in album royalties in order to release the 3-LP at a low price.

During the early 1980s he provided vocals with the reggae collective Singers And Players on Adrian Sherwood's On-U Sound record label. [5] Dread produced ten dub tracks for UB40 and toured Europe and Scandinavia as their support artist. [6]

Mikey Dread performing at SOB's NYC on 8 April 2003 Mikey Dread 2003.jpg
Mikey Dread performing at SOB's NYC on 8 April 2003

Some of his works in the United Kingdom include hosting series such as Rockers Roadshow and narrating the six-part Channel 4 reggae documentary series Deep Roots Music. [3] [4] He later recorded "The Source (Of Your Divorce)" for Warner Brothers Records US, which obtained regularly rotated video airplay.

In 1991, Dread recorded Profile and African Anthem Revisited. He also toured in Europe and the US with Freddie McGregor, Lloyd Parks, We The People Band, and the Roots Radics Band.

In 1992, he collaborated with former Guns N' Roses guitarist Izzy Stradlin on a duet entitled "Can't Hear 'Em". [3] He was nominated for a NAIRD award, an award from the Billboard Magazine, for his work on his 1990 compilation album Mikey Dread's Best Sellers.

In 1993, Mikey Dread was involved in several projects, including his tour supporting the album Obsession and working in TV with the Caribbean Satellite Network (CSN) where he was Program Director and on Air personality as well as Producer of various shows.

In 1994 he presented The Culture Award of Honor in the Martin's International Reggae Music Awards in Chicago. In 1995, he worked as a Radio DJ for WAVS 1170 AM and WAXY-AM 790 in Miami, Florida. In 1996 he participated in the Essential Music Festival as a performer in Brighton, UK.

Mikey furthered his knowledge of TV/Video Production at the Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale, where he graduated in 1996 with Honors and at Lynn University in Boca Raton / Florida where he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in International Communications, with Magna Cum Laude honours.

He performed live with The Clash, UB40, Bob Dylan, Carlos Santana, Macka B, and many other bands and artists. He also produced artists such as Sugar Minott, Junior Murvin, Earl Sixteen, Wally Bucker, Sunshine, Jah Grundy and Rod Taylor. He also worked closely with producer Trevor Elliot to launch musical career of singer Edi Fitzroy. Mikey Dread was the featured artist on "Lips Like Sugar" with Seal for the soundtrack of the 2004 film, 50 First Dates . [6]

Mikey Dread, 2006 Mikey Dread.jpg
Mikey Dread, 2006

After many years working as a producer and singer, Campbell withdrew from the business and moved to Miami where he furthered his college education with courses in electronics and business, and ran the Caribbean Satellite Network TV station in Miami. [5] Campbell shrewdly waited until all of his existing contracts expired and then regained control over his entire catalogue; He began re-releasing much of it on his own Dread at the Controls record label.

He performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2002 and at Glastonbury Festival in 2004, and toured the UK in 2006. [4]

Dread, together with The Blizzard of 78, featured on The Sandinista! Project, a tribute to the 1980 Clash album Sandinista!, with the song "Silicone on Sapphire". The tribute album, recorded in 2004, was released on 15 May 2007 by the 00:02:59 Records (a label named after a lyric from the Sandinista! song "Hitsville UK"). [11] [12] [13]

In October 2007, it was announced that Campbell was being treated for a brain tumour. [14] He died on 15 March 2008, surrounded by his family, at the home of his sister in Stamford, Connecticut. [1] He left seven children, three daughters and four sons, the youngest of whom was 4 months old when he died [15] and who he had with his wife Monica [16] .


Studio albums

1979African Anthem
Dread at the Controls
1980World War III
1981Beyond World War III
1982Dub Catalogue Volume 1
Dub Merchant
Jungle Signal
Pave the Way
1989Happy Family
African Anthem Revisited
1995Come to Mikey Dread's Dub Party
2000World Tour
2002Rasta in Control
2007Life Is a stage


1989African Anthem / Happy Family
S.W.A.L.K. / Rockers Vibrations
1991Best Sellers
1998The Prime of Mikey Dread: Massive Dub Cuts from 1978–1992
2006Best Sellers II
Dread at the Controls / Evolutionary Rockers


Appears on

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  2. Pronounced as /ˈmkidrɛd/
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  11. Clash, The; Joe Grushecky; Katrina Leskanich; Willie Nile; Ship & Pilot.; Soul Food (Musical group); Sunset Heroes (21 September 2004). The Sandinista! Project A Tribute to the Clash (Compact Disc). England: 00:02:59 Records. OCLC   178980813.
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  15. https://www.bajanreporter.com/2008/03/dread-at-the-controls-michael-mikey-dread-campbell-is-no-more-19542008-r-i-p/ Published by The Bajan Reporter on March 7, 2008, retrieved on April 7, 2019
  16. Biography Published by mikeydread.com and retrieved on April 7, 2019
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  30. "World Tour – Mikey Dread | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  31. "Rasta in Control – Mikey Dread | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. 10 December 2002. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  32. "Life Is a Stage – Mikey Dread | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. 26 April 2007. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  33. "African Anthem/Happy Family – Mikey Dread | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  34. Sean Westergaard (1 July 1991). "S.W.A.L.K./Rockers Vibrations – Mikey Dread | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  35. "The Prime of Mikey Dread: Massive Dub Cuts from 1978–1992 – Mikey Dread | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. 18 January 1999. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  36. "Best Sellers 2 – Mikey Dread | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. 4 January 2006. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  37. "Dread at the Controls/Evolutionary Rockers – Mikey Dread | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. 4 January 2006. Retrieved 20 May 2014.