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Charlie Chaplin

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Charlie Chaplin

Real Name: Richard Bennett
Born: TBA
Place of Birth: TBA

The tradition of adopting pseudonyms from the film industry is a long-established practice among the sound system DJs of Jamaica. Westerns have provided the inspiration for Trinity, his brother Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleeff and the Lone Ranger, to name but a few. Silent movies had been ignored until the arrival of Charlie Chaplin, who had been nicknamed such from his schooldays. He began his career toasting on the revived King Sturgav sound system operated by DJ daddy U-Roy. His popularity on the live circuit led to recording sessions with Roy Cousins who, while pursuing his career with the Jamaican Post Office, was the leading light behind vocal group the Royals. He enjoyed a number of hits followed by the release of Presenting Charlie Chaplin, which included distinctive material such as "Mother In Law", "Leave Me Chalawah", "Chaplin's Chant" and "Jamaican Collie". In the same year he released One Of A Kind, which featured the title track and a tribute to the Sturgav system. The UK-based CSA label secured the release of Unity Is Strength, an early example of the popular singer/DJ combination style, which saw him partnered by Don Carlos, one of the founding members of Black Uhuru.

He continued performing on the sound system, and in 1984 "International Robbery" told the fantasy tale of a bank robbery carried out by the Sturgav Posse, including U-Roy, Josey Wales and Inspector Willie. At the 1984 Reggae Sunsplash festival held in Jamaica, he came close to claiming the DJ crown from Yellowman, appearing on stage emulating Michael Jackson and wooing the crowd. Shortly after the show, Yellowman and Charlie joined forces for Slackness Vs Pure Culture, with lewd numbers from the albino star and more conscientious lyrics from Charlie. In the 90s he continued to release the occasional single, notably "Do Good", with his sparring partner Josey Wales, in combination with Yammie Bolo and Jack Radics.

Encyclopedia of Popular Music
Copyright Muze UK Ltd. 1989 - 2005
Source - BBC Music Profiles

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