In the vein of Sound Man and The Soundtrack of My Life, a lyrical, warmhearted, and inspirational memoir from the founder of Island Records about his astonishing life and career helping to bring reggae music to the world stage and working with Bob Marley, U2, Grace Jones, Cat Stevens, and many other icons.
Chris Blackwell, like the paradigm-shifting artists he came to support over his sixty-plus years in the music business, never took the conventional route. He grew up between Jamaica and London, crossing paths with Ian Fleming, Noel Coward, and Errol Flynn. After being expelled from an elite British school for rebellious behavior in 1954 at age seventeen, he moved back to Jamaica, and within five years, founded Island Records--the company that would make an indelible mark on music, shifting with the times, but always keeping its core identity intact.
The Islander is the story of Blackwell and his cohorts at Island Records, who time and again, identified, nurtured, and broke out musicians who had been overlooked by bigger record labels, including Steve Winwood, Nick Drake, John Martyn, and Cat Stevens. After an impromptu meeting with Bob Marley and his bandmates in 1972, Blackwell decided to fund and produce their groundbreaking album Catch a Fire. He'd go on to work with Marley over the rest of his career, remain his close friend, and continually champion Jamaican culture and reggae music.
In the ensuing years, Blackwell worked with U2, Grace Jones, the B-52s, Tom Waits, Robert Palmer, Tom Tom Club, and many other groundbreaking artists. He also opened the first Jamaican boutique hotel, on the property of Ian Fleming's former home, Goldeneye, where all the James Bond books were written.
Blackwell is a legendary as well as deeply humble raconteur, and reading The Islander is like spending a day with the most interesting man in the world. ©2022, 352 pages
Chris Blackwell is the founder of Island Records, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and is credited with being responsible for turning the world on to reggae music. Blackwell spent his childhood in Jamaica and founded Island Records at the age of twenty-two. He went on to forge the careers of Bob Marley, Cat Stevens, Grace Jones, and U2, among many other high-profile acts, and produced records including Marley's Catch a Fire and Uprising. Blackwell currently runs Island Outpost, a group of elite resorts in Jamaica, which includes Goldeneye--the former home of author Ian Fleming.
Paul Morley is a writer, broadcaster, and cultural critic who has covered music, art, and entertainment since the 1970s. A founding member of the electronic collective Art of Noise and a member of staff at the Royal Academy of Music, he is the author of a number of books about music including the bestselling The Age of Bowie and A Sound Mind: How I Fell in Love with Classical Music and Decided to Rewrite its Entire History. He collaborated with music icon Grace Jones on her memoir, I'll Never Write My Memoirs, and his two most recent books are biographies of Bob Dylan, You Lose Yourself, You Reappear, and Tony Wilson of Factory Records, From Manchester With Love.
"As you're about to find out through the pages in this book, Chris Blackwell - who looms large in U2's life, and was our lifeline into the music world - is an adventurer, an entrepreneur, a buccaneer, a visionary, and a gentleman. I'm proud to know him."