.

Reggae Pioneer King Stitt Dead at 72

Jamaican helped develop 'toasting' vocal style

February 1, 2012 8:45 AM ET
King Stitt, rap reggae pioneer
King Stitt, rap reggae pioneer
Sourced via YouTube/NLReggae

King Stitt, a pioneer of reggae toasting, died on Tuesday in Jamaica. Stitt, 72, passed away in his home in Kingston after battling prostate cancer and diabetes. The singer had recently been discharged from a public hospital.

Stitt, born Winston Sparks, began his career in the late 1950s as part of Kingston's sound system scene. He was among the first to develop the toasting style of vocals, in which deejays add rhythmic chants and intros to records being played at parties. The style eventually morphed into rapping in hip-hop culture.

Photos: Random Notes
Stitt, also known as the Ugly One for his disfigured facial features and missing teeth, appeared on many records throughout his career, including classic deejay tracks such as "Lee Van Cleef," "Fire Corner," "Vigorton 2" and "Paradise Plum."

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

prev
Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

More Song Stories entries »
 
www.expandtheroom.com