Mostly known for his "Harry J Studio" where Bob Marley & The Wailers recorded many of their albums in the 1970s, Johnson is also an important record producer who met success during the early reggae era.
Johnson started to play music with the Virtues as a bass player, but soon quit to work as an insurance salesman. He first appeared as a record producer in 1968, when he launched his own record label, "Harry J", by releasing The Beltones' local hit "No More Heartaches", considered by many to be the very first reggae song ever recorded, along with the Studio One single "Nanny Goat" by Larry & Alvin. His agreement with Coxsone Dodd allowed him to use Studio One's facilities, where he produced the hit "Cuss Cuss" with singer Lloyd Robinson, which became one of the most covered riddim in Jamaica.
In October 1969, he met success in the UK with "The Liquidator" (number 9 in the UK Singles Chart) recorded with his session band, The Harry J All Stars. This single became one of the anthems of the emerging skinhead youth subculture; together with other instrumental hits released in the UK through his own subdivision "Harry J" on Trojan Records, on a compilation album of the same name (see cover).
In the beginning of the 1970s, (apart from other UK compilations of his own Jamaican productions, including songs by The Cables, Tony Scott, Busty Brown, Val Bennett etc.), he enjoyed another big success with the vocal duo Bob & Marcia. They were Bob Andy and Marcia Griffiths with the song "Young, Gifted and Black". His productions also included Jamaican hits with DJs like Winston Blake or Scotty among others, and many dub versions.
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