The seminal reggae label Trojan Records will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year with a slew of musical releases, a new documentary and a handful of live events.
Founded in 1968 by Lee Gopthal and Chris Blackwell, two Jamaican ex-pats living in London, Trojan helped introduce an array of reggae artists to mainstream audiences. The label’s catalog includes music from Lee “Scratch” Perry, Desmond Dekker, Jimmy Cliff, the Pioneers and the Maytalls, while its Upsetter imprint was responsible for releasing much of Bob Marley and the Wailers’ music in the U.K.
Trojan’s upcoming 50th anniversary release itinerary includes the three-disc Ska and Reggae Classics collection (out May 25th), the two-CD sets This is Trojan Roots and This is Trojan Dub (June 22nd) and the coffee table book, The Story of Trojan Records (July 5th). Laurence Cane-Honeysett wrote the The Story of Trojan Records (he previously chronicled the label in his 2003 book, Young, Gifted and Black), which also contains illustrations, photographs, record sleeves and other previously unseen archival material.
At the center of the Trojan 50th anniversary project is a massive box set, which arrives July 27th. The collection includes four vinyl LPs, six CDs, two seven-inch vinyl singles, an album covers book, a poster, a patch and a slip mat.
A complete rundown of Trojan’s upcoming releases is available on the label’s website, where all items are also available for pre-order.
“Trojan’s place in the development of mainstream popular culture should never be underestimated,” said Cane-Honeysett. “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.”
Trojan will also host a variety of live events in the U.K. and Europe this summer, while a new documentary, Rudeboy: The Story of Trojan Records, is expected to premiere at festivals later this year. The recently-wrapped film chronicles the rise of Trojan Records and how reggae, ska and rock steady became a cultural movement in Britain during the Sixties and Seventies. Trojan also plans to launch a new imprint, Trojan Reloaded, that will release new music for the first time in over 25 years.
Trojan also released a short video teasing their 50th anniversary celebrations that includes testimonials from Perry, Don Letts, Major Lazer’s Jillionaire and Soul II Soul’s Jazzie B. “Trojan must’ve changed a lot of peoples lives,” said Jazzie B. “And I’m not just talking about the baby making – I’m talking about that platform to be an artist, or to be chosen to be on Trojan.”