Encore: Jimmy Cliff

When it comes to reggae, Jimmy Cliff, whose ACL episode encores this weekend, is indisputably one of the greats. He first found fame as a teenager, with a string of hit singles in his native Jamaica. By the late 60s, reggae was spreading beyond the borders of his birthplace and Cliff became one of its first international stars with “Wonderful World, Beautiful People” and “Vietnam,” which Bob Dylan called “the best protest song I’ve ever heard.” In 1972 Cliff starred in the acclaimed film The Harder They Come, writing and singing the hit title song. Other Cliff compositions like “Many Rivers to Cross” and “You Can Get It If You Really Want” have also become often-covered, much-loved reggae standards. Cliff continues to record and tour all over the world, collaborating with Sting, the Clash’s Joe Strummer, Kool & the Gang, Wyclef Jean and the Rolling Stones along the way. As popular now as he ever was, Jimmy Cliff is the face of reggae, as you’ll see for yourself this Saturday – check your local PBS listings for the broadcast time and channel.

photo by Scott Newton

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