Glenroy Anthony Smith is known around the world to all who have had the
joy and excitement of hearing him sing and play, as "Ernie". Ernie
is a true
pioneer of Reggae Music, but this fails to convey the versatility, longevity
of his illustrious career as a singer, composer, lyric writer, musician
....artiste supreme. Ernie plays mostly reggae but changes with ease to
rhythm and blues, ballads, country music and gospel.
Born to a musical family - his father George played the guitar, mother,
sang, sisters Tezzie, Kay, Jean sing like larks and brothers are instrumentalists
Paul, Bass, Peter, Sax, Patrick, Keyboards. Ernie has also passed his love
for arts to
his children, Ojay sings and play drums, Sahara has excelled in Song and
Taasha chose the Navy and Seychelle is in college preparing for a medical
His professional musical career began in 1965, when he formed his first
the Vandals, from among his brothers, sisters and friends. His first recording
1967 was an original composition, I Can't Take It. This was later recorded
Johnny Nash as Tears On My Pillow. Four fantastic hits followed, Bend Down,
Ride On Sammy, One Dream, and Pitta Patta. In 1972, at the 3rd World Popular
Song Festival, of the Yamaha Foundation For Popular Music, in Tokyo, he
the lion share of the Grand Prize, ahead of legends like Neil Sedaka, for
presentation of his original composition, Life Is Just For Living. As a
became the first Jamaican musician in the field of popular music to receive
national honour from his Government. The award of the Badge of Honour for
Meritorious Service, together with his creativity, music and energy boosted
popularity and fame both at home and abroad.
Through the well known booking agent Ronnie Nasralla, Ernie played Madison
Square Garden in 1973, (the Main room) and 1974 (The Felt Forum).
Engagements in Brazil, other Caribbean territories, the Mid-West, Eastern
Western coasts of the USA, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Holland followed
next few years. Migration to North America in 1976 was a necessary decision
the aftermath of his controversial hit, "As We Fight One Another For
and the Glory, The Kingdom Goes to Waste''. By 1979, Ernie was a well
established exponent of reggae music in Canada, and toured extensively
throughout that country. During his Canadian period, and later when he moved
to Florida, he received universal acclaim for his performances. To quote
four reviewers: "If Cat Stevens sang reggae, he might choose to sing
Smith". - Wilder Penfield III, The Toronto Sun. "To Behold Jah
is simply one of
the most important albums to come out of Toronto... - Peter Goddard, Toronto
Star. "Jamaican musician Ernie Smith is excellent...What's most remarkable
about Ernie, aside from his geniality - and his beguiling way with an electric
guitar and... husky, warm voice - is his infinite repertory of songs..."
Hirsch, The Miami Beach Sun Reporter.". Enter Ernie Smith. The superstar
the early seventies...for 40 minutes gave a crisp display of stagecraft
entertaining..." - Howard McGowan, (1996).
Ernie returned home to Jamaica in 1989, after a 13 year exile. He was instantly,
back in demand on the hotel circuit, as well as corporate and private functions,
gala events, major stage shows and has more than once performed on Reggae
Sunsplash. Internation-ally his recent tours include, Belgium, London, the
Caribbean, Canada and as far afield as South Korea, where he once again
first, bringing Live Reggae to Seoul and Muju. Ernie has a love affair with
music. He is a gifted songwriter and loves to sing, and delivers a warm,
show every time.
Music, Ernie feels, is the one thing that unties all cultures. The need
among all people has been a recurrent theme in many of his lyrics, and reflects
personal optimistic vision for the future:
...We shall all unite
For God, for Truth, for Right...
And every human with a heart will finally know
That we all must play a part, but not apart...
- excerpt from "Tribute to Mandela" on CD/Lp Dance Hall: Ernie
Cleans It Up! -
(c) Ernie Smith (1994)
...Let the children play
No child should ever be so hungry now
Let the children pray
No child should ever be so angry now
Let the children stay
No child should ever be so lonely`
For the love of God
Love can find a way
Let it be today
- excerpt from "Let The Children Play" on CD`After 30 years -
Life is Just For
Living - (c) Ernie Smith (1997).
Over the years, Ernie has maintained that there will be a fusion of reggae
diverse musical styles. He has been proven right. His "Rebel Music"
included in this compilation is nothing short of prophetic.
With Ernie Smith time has no boundary, and today, is as vibrant and fresh
ever and ready to move on through any challenge his musical journey may
encounter. This compilation is Ernie's offer to you, to enjoy, while discovering
or re-discovering a different side of Jamaican musicality and versatility.
For more on Ernie Smith, click on this text. . .