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Dwight Pinkney

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  • Born: Manchester, Jamaica
  • Years Active: 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s


Biography All Music GuideWikipedia

All Music Guide:

Reggae superstar Dwight Pinkney, known as "Brother Dee" in many circles, has been making reggae music since he formed the Sharks in 1965. Born in Manchester, Jamaica, he moved to Kingston as a child and lived with his mother until he was a teenager. When he turned 18, he formed the Sharks and began playing as a resident-band at a hotel. The band also started regular visits to the famous Studio One in Kingston, where they would backup massively popular reggae artists on their various singles. After putting in his time with this group, they disbanded and he turned his attention towards bands like Zap-Pow and Roots Radics, popular reggae bands that helped him become a regular player in popular Jamaican music. Writing the instrumental reggae/jazz album Jamaican Memories by the Score, he won several awards for his efforts and followed it up in 2002 with More Memories.


Dwight Pinkney (born 1945), also known as Brother Dee, is a Jamaican guitarist best known for his work as a session musician and as a member of Zap Pow and the Roots Radics, who since 1999 has recorded as a solo artist.


Pinkney was born in Manchester Parish, Jamaica, moving to Kingston as a youth. In the mid-1960s he formed The Sharks as guitarist, the band recording for Studio One and backing The Wailers on their 1965 Jamaican hit single "Put It On", also providing backing for recordings by Ken Boothe and The Gaylads. One of Pinkney's most successful songs, written in 1967 while a member of The Sharks, is "How Could I Live", which was originally released as the b-side of Jeff Dixon and Marcia Griffiths' "Words" single, and has since been recorded by artists including Myrna Hague, The Heptones, Richie Stephens, George Nooks, and Dennis Brown (as "How Could I Leave"). Pinkney moved on to work with Zap Pow in 1969, a band with members including Beres Hammond, David Madden, and Glen DaCosta. Zap Pow recorded two albums and their best-known song, "This is Reggae Music", was co-written by Pinkney. In the mid-1970s, Pinkney put his recording career on hold to attend the Jamaican School of Music, undertaking a course in Afro-American music, and studying arranging, and later taking on a teaching role. Pinkney's 1979 arrangement of The Astronauts' Festival Song Competition-winning "Born Jamaican" won him a Guinness Jamaica award, and he returned once again to recording.

In the early 1980s he joined the Roots Radics, replacing Sowell Radics, and he also worked on dozens of albums by artists including Barry Brown, Bunny Wailer, Culture, Frankie Paul, The Itals, Yellowman, and Gregory Isaacs.

In 1999 he reelased his debut solo album, the award winning Jamaican Memories by the Score, which includes an updated version of "How Could I Live". Further albums followed in 2000 and 2002. In 2004 he contributed to the album Is it Rolling Bob? A Reggae Tribute to Bob Dylan. In 2008 he released an album of instrumental versions of Bob Marley songs, Dwight Pinkney Picks Marley Melodies.

In 2000, he formed a new band, the Distinguished Personalities Band (aka the DP Band) along with Keith Francis and Earl Fitzsimmons.

In 2012 he released Dwight Pinkney and D.P. Band Plays the Ventures+ Jamaican Style, an album of instrumentals featuring reggae versions of surf instrumentals and film and television themes. It was included in the provisional list of 50 albums in contention for the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album.

Pinkney has also appeared in the films Smile Orange, Land of Look Behind, and Holyland.

In August 2014 it was announced that Pinkney would receive the Order of Distinction in October that year for his contribution to the development of Jamaican music.

^ Larkin, Colin (1998) The Virgin Encyclopedia of Reggae, Virgin Books, ISBN 0-7535-0242-9, p.224^ Moskowitz, David V. (2006) Caribbean Music: an Encyclopedia of Reggae, Mento, Ska, Rock Steady, and Dancehall, Greenwood Press, ISBN 0-313-33158-8, p.236^ Walters, Basil (2005) "Dwight Pinkney and How Could I Live: Behind the Song", Jamaica Observer, 12 April 2005^ Cooke, Mel (2007) "STORY OF THE SONG: Guitarist plucks heartstrings with 'How Could I Live'", Jamaica Gleaner, 9 September 2007^ Woodcraft, Molloy (2004) "Dub on the tracks", The Observer, 15 August 2004^ Cooke, Mel (2008) "Pinkney 'picks' through personal Marley memories", Jamaica Gleaner, 29 June 2008^ Cooke, Mel (2005) "A 'Distinguished Personality'", Jamaica Gleaner, 4 September 2005^ Campbell, Howard (2012) "Pinkney strums up nod on Grammy draft list", Jamaica Observer, 16 November 2012. Retrieved 17 November 2012^ "Recognising Dwight Pinkney", Jamaica Observer, 12 August 2014. Retrieved 13 August 2014

Solo discography[edit]

Jamaican Memories by the Score (1999) RAS/TPAll Occasions (2000)More Jamaican Memories (2002) VPHome Grown Jamaican (2005)Reggae Chronicles (2006) HallmarkLove & Peace (2007)Dwight Pinkney Picks Marley Melodies (2008) VPDwight Pinkney and D.P. Band Plays the Ventures+ Jamaican Style (2012), Tad's


Guinness Jamaica Award for "Born Jamaican" (as arranger), 1979Jamaica Federation of Musicians Union (JFMU) Award for Jamaican Memories by the ScoreReggae-Soca Music Award for Jamaican Memories by the ScoreCanadian Pippers Award, 2002International Reggae and World Music Award (IRAWMA) of Honour for contribution the development of Jamaican music, 2008.^ Walters, Basil (2008) "Dwight Pinkney Picks Marley Melodies superbly", Jamaica Observer, 29 June 2008
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