Jimmy Cliff

One of the most soulful voices in reggae, Jimmy Cliff has had an influence on the course of popular music that cannot be overestimated. From his handiwork on gems like "Vietnam," "You Can Get It If You Really Want" and "Many Rivers to Cross," you could almost say that he's like the Frank Black or Lou Reed of reggae: never a household name, but always the influence behind the household names. After delivering a killer performance as the star of — and musical mastermind behind — the film The Harder They Come, Cliff disappeared from the American consciousness, only to return in 1993 with the chart-topping "I Can See Clearly Now." Last year, Cliff teamed up with pop-punk icon (and Jimmy Cliff superfan) Tim Armstrong from Rancid for the new EP Sacred Fire, an acclaimed preview of their upcoming album, which includes covers of the Clash's "The Guns of Brixton" and Bob Dylan's "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" — the latter a fine tribute to a legend who once called Cliff's "Vietnam" the best protest song he'd ever heard.


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