Mikey Dread / Michael Campbell R.I.P. 01/01/54 – 16/03/08

A selection of tracks not engineered by Mikey Dread below

Michael CampbellFriends And Money / Bubbler In MoneyErrol T Records 1978

Michael Dread CampbellProper Education / Educational StyleSteppers Records 1979

Mickey Campbell Rasta Baby Born / Rasta RhythmRoots International Records 1979

The first ‘Dread At The Controls’ release that Mikey Dread certainly DID engineer below and of course The Clash single which spookly I put on the turntable on the day before this sad news broke (15/03/08) when Vince ex-D.I.R.T. and his daughter Laila visited Penguin Towers – I described ‘Bankrobber’ by The Clash to the six year old as a punk lullaby!


Mikey Dread – Break Down The Walls / Wall Street Rock

Mikey Dread – The Jumping Master / Master Mind 

The Clash / Mikey Dread – Bankrobber / Rockers Galore

From the Jamaican Observer:

Radio disc jock Mikey Dread is dead.  He succumbed to a brain tumour late yesterday afternoon at his family home in Connecticut, USA at the age of 54. Born Michael Campbell in Port Antonio, Jamaica, he distinguished himself as an extraordinary studio engineer and presenter at the now defunct Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation (JBC) where he came to prominence in the 1970s as “The Dread-at-the-Control Tower”, the name of the late night show he presented at a time when reggae music was scoffed at by many. One of reggae’s greatest innovators and original radio engineers/technicians, the past student of Titchfield High School, in 2006 celebrated the 30th anniversary of the night programme which he started at the JBC, and revolutionised the after midnight shift making it into the most popular slot on radio, by playing strictly dub music. This innovation is seen by many musicologists as the antecedence of dancehall as we now know it. Upon leaving the JBC, Mikey Dread ventured into recording and scored with a number of releases such as Weatherman Skanking in combination with Ray I, Barber Saloon, Love the Dread, as well as albums such as Dread at the Control, Evolutionary Rockers and World War III. Over time he attracted the attention of British punk rockers, The Clash, who invited him to produce some of their music, the most famous of which is their single Bankrobber, and contributed to several songs on their 1980 album, Sandinista. Mikey Dread also toured with The Clash across Britain, wider Europe and the US. He also worked closely with producer Trevor Elliot to launch musical career of singer Edi Fitzroy, who was then an accountant at the JBC. As the news of his passing surfaced yesterday, the Sunday Observer got comments from a number of persons in the media and the music fraternity, all of whom hailed Mikey Dread as a significant contributor to the development of Jamaican music. “His (Mikey Dread’s) work, is not only national or regional, but also international,” former JBC’s journalist Leslie Miles noted. “It spanned the world scene and made Mikey a pioneer broadcaster for playing dub music, and also redefined aspects of radio, especially night time radio” Miles, who is now head of news at Bess FM, also spoke of the struggle Mikey Dread faced at the conservative JBC. Music consultant Colin Leslie pointed out that the consequence of the “fight” he received from the management was putting him on at night, but that backfired. “Remember he is a Portlander, so I always appreciated the fact that we shared the same alma mater (Titchfield High School), that is something I’ve always cherished and I hold him in high esteem. Although he was ahead of my era, he was somebody who laid an awesome foundation and was very unique and highly respected,” was how Richard “Richie B” Burgess of Hot 102, remembered Mikey Dread. “We were at JBC together, and in those days when he started at the JBC dreads weren’t popular on the air. The powers that be in management really gave him a fight,” Ali McNab told the Sunday Observer. “Michael Campbell, is someone who revolutionised radio in Jamaica when there was still an anti-Jamaican sentiment regarding music and culture. In terms of the emerging dancehall, it was Mikey Dread who popularised it on radio. Although it was late night, he still managed to popularise dancehall music and bring it to the masses,” was the perspective of Dennis Howard who also worked on JBC Radio, in the post-Mikey Dread era.And Irie FM’s disc jockey, GT Taylor hailed the late Mikey Dread as a role model. “Reggae music in Jamaica, owes a lot that that brother. He was one man who stood up for reggae in the early ’70s, bringing the music to the forefront. He is one of my inspirations.” Veteran singer Freddie McGregor attested to the fact that “Mikey Dread was one of the persons fighting the struggle for reggae music. Mikey and I did a lot of shows together over the years. A wonderful brethren”.   On Saturday night we walked into a visibly distraught Brigitte Anderson at Symphony Under The Stars. She was mourning the passing of her friend, Mikey Dread, who had made his transition earlier that day. “He was really such a wonderful person. And he has a baby who’s just a couple months old. You should really do something extensive on him” Brigitte rambled on in her grief. Interestingly, it was only earlier in the week that Observer had carried an article about Mikey Dread and how ‘hopeful’ he was about beating his illness, so it came as a shock, just as we were wrapping up the Entertainment section on Saturday to hear that he had died. The comforting thing, however, is that his legacy is so extensive and so universal, that, in a sense, Mikey Dread will forever be at the control.  A versatile and multi-faced person, the Dread clearly was a perfectionist and this is evident by his belief in formal training in his chosen field. In 1980, he attended the National Broadcasting School in London where he perfected his media production / radio broadcasting skills, graduating with special commendations; in 1984, he studied studio/recording techniques at Polytechnic of North London; in 1996, he attended the Art Institute of Ft Lauderdale as a full -time student majoring in music / video production, graduating with honours; in 2000, he graduated with honours from Lynn University, Boca Raton / Florida with a magna cum laude Bachelor of Arts Degree in International Communications. In that same year, he released World Tour, his first album in five years. Between the years 1976 when he started working at JBC and 2007 when he released his final album, Life is a Stage, Mikey Dread accomplished so much, it was as if he was ensuring that his half a century – plus on this earth would be memorable . and it was. Broadcaster, singer, songwriter and producer, he toured Europe and Scandinavia as support artiste for UB40 and produced 10 dub tracks for them; he made several appearances and performances on BBC and Sky TV Music Box, London and Bristol, UK and did live appearances with UB40, Bob Dylan, and Carlos Santana at Rock Music Festival at Wembley Stadium in London and Slane Castle in Dublin, Ireland. His performances in Italy in November 2001 in Bari and Rome re-established him as one of the original roots reggae icons of the mid-seventies/early ’80s reggae era of Jamaican music.He produced artistes such as Sugar Minott, Junior Murvin, Earl Sixteen, Wally Bucker, Sunshine, Jah Grundy and Rod Taylor and was integral in the career development of singer Edi Fitzroy, who was an accountant at during ‘the Mikey years’. Mikey Dread was the featured artiste on Lips Like Sugar with Seal for the soundtrack of the Adam Sandler / Drew Barrymore – Sony Pictures movie 50 First Dates. May his soul rest in peace.

  1. Dick P
    Dick P
    March 17, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    Shit. I knew Mikey was very ill but I naturally hoped he’d recover. That’s very sad news.

  2. John No Last Name
    John No Last Name
    March 17, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    Saw Mikey Dread on the “16 tons tour” with the Clash and Joe Ely, a great musical innovator, studio genius and true artist. R.I.P Mikey.

  3. Si Nolan
    Si Nolan
    March 17, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    That’s grim news – was just on about Mikey on another thread last week – had a couple of belting hours of Channel One at last year’s Carnival – he will be missed.


  4. Pavlik
    March 17, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    All those reggae artists are getting on a bit now. I met the Heptones a few years ago and they were three little old fellas. I actually felt really honoured to be sitting with them though, thinking of all the amazing artists they’d sung with over so many years.
    I know very little about Mikey Dread really apart from the clash connection, but I did play a tape of his in my car stereo for months and loved every minute of it.
    RIP Mikey

  5. Penguin
    Penguin • Post Author •
    March 17, 2008 at 8:37 pm

    Hey Pav, I have met a whole heap of the reggae greats, always nice humble people (the older lot, not the younger raggas) During Carnival every year, all visiting legends all go Fatmans place in Manor House. Foods good, company’s good. Sat there one time with Junior Delgado, Niney The Observer, and Joe Gibbs, with Fatman serving the rice n peas! Gregory Isaacs sung a tune for my wife on Dub Plate in his studios in Red Hills Road, Kingston, JA which I gave to her as a valentines present years ago. She was not there, she thought I was getting up to no good with him and his posse, she was very surprised to be given a nice crisp dub a few days later dedicated to herself!

  6. Nic
    March 17, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    You old romantic, you!
    (Great story)

  7. Penguin
    Penguin • Post Author •
    March 17, 2008 at 9:59 pm

    Cheers Nic, the joke was I was up to no good as well!

    No I wish!

    If you get the chance to look in Isaacs office drawer…! Pretty scary stuff, he opened it up and amongst the hand guns was the biggest bag of gak you would ever see, some bags of green…he only opened it, with three or four bodyguards present, to give me some change!

    Bit of a party guy!

  8. Pavlik
    March 17, 2008 at 10:21 pm

    You’re right about the younger types Penguin.
    One of the other bands (no idea who they were) came in and started giving me grief and one of the Heptones said ‘leave him alone, he’s alright’.
    We all made spliffs with my homegrown and then they left me in the dressing room saying help yourself to as many beers as you want. There were hundreds of bottles in there but I was so stoned that I put a bottle in each pocket and left.

  9. kaplan
    March 18, 2008 at 9:20 am

    he was a great man
    may he rest in peace.

  10. Mel- Hal
    Mel- Hal
    March 21, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    No more, let no more Reggae Icons
    pass on, before letting them know
    how much they mean to us, Honor
    them when they are in our presence,
    May god watch and keep you Mikey Dread,
    peace and blessing to your family.

  11. Ron
    March 25, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    The Great Mikey Dread will be sadley missed!!! Has any one got any recordings of his JBC, DREAD at the CONTROLS radio show, as I would love to hear some and be reminded of Mikey Dread’s unique creativity.

  12. tony t
    tony t
    March 31, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    Mikey we miss you, even if they can´t keep a good man down,
    and legends never die…
    There will be a memorial for sure on my birthday,
    when i play in hometown.
    lots of loving and respect due to channel 1 inglan

  13. mikey dread
    mikey dread
    April 2, 2008 at 11:04 pm

    Hey, I’m mikey dread, the one that dj’s on the notting hill carnival, hey, some of you think that I’m dead, but i’m not, it’s the other mikey dread that died, the dread at the controls,
    come to the next notting hill’s carnival and you will see the proof!

  14. Ian
    July 18, 2008 at 8:33 pm

    i bought african anthem around 1981 and to this day is my fave lp of all time. i even suffered watching ub40 once (they played a set first, then mikey, then ub40 again) just to see him. last saw him about 5 years ago in glasgow. only found out he’d died a couple of months after it happened.

  15. Leon
    January 13, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    I loved and still love listening to Mikey Dread’s excellent sets he played on the radio. I would say they where the best sets ever played. So sad he has now gone.

    One track haunts me and I’ve never been able to find it after 20 years of searching. Female vocals, “the rodeo letters” or “the romeo letters” “that never” “light up the chalice and burn down the” “there’s no faults between us and we will succeed” “I’m in love with you roy (or boy)” Iit’s not I’m still in love with you by alton ellis btw)

    Can’t remember all the lyrics it’s been so long now, the track had an excellent harmonica. Don’t know who made the track but Mikey played it in one of his sets. if anyone knows please reply below. Such a great track really deserves to be heard, as I’m sure Mikey felt when he played the track in his set.


  16. dan i
    dan i
    January 13, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    Sad news from january 2010. On 12th jan, Yabby You (aka Vivian Jackson) died in Jamaica.

    One of the most powerful dread producers, Yabby You will be missed greatly. In recent years several of his tunes have been reversioned by the young guns of today (eg. Warn The Nation).


    On a more positive note, quite a few reissues coming from Mikey Dread’s old DATC label, including his own ‘Roots and Culture’ and ‘ His Imperial Majesty’ by Rod Taylor and a wicked cut to that by Hopeton Lindo called ‘Black History’.

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