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Joseph Hill

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Joseph Hill (January 22, 1949 – August 19, 2006) was the lead singer and songwriter for the roots reggae group Culture whose other members were Kenneth Dayes and Hill’s cousin Albert Walker, most famous for their 1977 hit “Two Sevens Clash”, but also well known for their “International Herb” single. Hill recorded twenty-two albums.

Joseph Hill was a devoted worshipper of His Majesty Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia as a member of the Rastafari movement. Indeed, Hill’s honorific/nickname, “Keeper of Zion Gate” reflects his vaunted position as one of reggae’s and Rastafari’s greatest voices.

Hill died while the group was in the middle of a European tour after being taken ill suddenly and he died the next morning. Hill’s son Kenyatta has been performing concerts with Culture, standing in on lead vocals as a tribute to his father. Kenyatta toured extensively with his father for the last 11 years and has stated, “Since he is no longer around to do the work himself, I feel it is my duty to carry on the work. I know that he was preparing me for this.”

Hill had received a number of honours; an induction into the Jamaican Reggae Walk of Fame and a 2005 Independence Award presented by the Prime Minister of Jamaica. In 2006 the group continued to draw good reviews, especially for their performance at ‘Bob Marley 61st Birthday Celebration’ in Ghana.

During the seventies the group had a string of highly successful singles for producers Joe Gibbs and Sonia Pottinger including the song ‘Two Sevens Clash’ which made its mark on both Jamaica and the United Kingdom. It was named by Rolling Stone magazine in 2002 as one of the ‘50 Coolest Records’ - the only single artist reggae album to make the list.

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