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The Tennors

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Biography

The Tennors were a Jamaican rocksteady and reggae vocal group in the 1960s and ’70s. Among the band’s hits was “Ride Yu Donkey” in 1968. The song was featured on the soundtrack to the 2005 film Broken Flowers.

History

The group was formed in Kingston in the mid-1960s by singer George “Clive” Murphy who formed a duo with Maurice “Professor” Johnson. They called themselves the Tennor Twins. They auditioned a song called “Pressure and Slide” in 1967 while sitting in the back of a taxicab for arranger Jackie Mittoo of Studio One. Murphy and Johnson were then joined by Norman Davis, and the trio recorded the song backed by Mittoo. The single was the best selling of the year, but, according to Murphy, the group never received any royalties for the track.
Rather than continue to deal with Studio One record producer Coxsone Dodd, the Tennors formed their own label and grew its own stable of artists. The accidental death of Johnson reduced the trio back to a duo, and Murphy and Davis continued as songwriters. They offered their song, “Ride Yu Donkey”, to many artists, but ended up recording it themselves after it was turned down. The song was released in 1968 and was a huge hit.
Other songs by the Tennors included “Cleopatra”, “Grandpa”, Massi Massa”, “Girl You Hold Me” and “Rub Me Khaki”, “Sufferer”, “Sign of the Times”, “Biff Baff” (aka “Traitor”), “Bow Legged Girl”, “Little Things”, “Cherry” and “Oh My Baby”.

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