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Jackie Opel

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Born Dalton Sinclair Bishop in Bridgetown, Barbados, Jackie Opel (1938–1970) possessed a rich, powerful voice with a six-octave range. He was known as the Jackie Wilson of Jamaica, and was a gifted dancer.

In the early 1960s, he was discovered by Byron Lee, the band master of the Dragonaires, who brought him to Jamaica. There, he started performing with the Skatalites as one of their lead singers. He recorded as a solo artist first on Coxsone Dodd’s Studio One label, and afterwards on Justin Yap’s Top Deck label and Edward Seaga’s Wirl label. His styles included ska, R&B, soul, gospel, and calypso. He is credited with inventing spouge music, a fusion of ska, calypso, and R&B music. Opel performed duos with Doreen Schaffer and Hortense Ellis, and in 1964 was backed by Wailers Bob Marley and Peter Tosh on “Mill Man.”

Opel eventually moved to Trinidad and then back to Barbados. In 1970, he died in a car crash in Bridgetown, Barbados.

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