Chris Blackwell Biography

Chris Blackwell is an English businessman and former record producer. Check out this biography to know about his birthday, childhood, family life, achievements, and fun facts about him.

Quick Facts

Birthday: June 22, 1937

Nationality: British

Famous: Record Producers British Men

Age: 82 Years, 82 Year Old Males

Sun Sign: Cancer

Also Known As: Christopher Percy Gordon Blackwell

Born Country: England

Born in: Westminster, England

Famous as: Businessman

Family:

Spouse/Ex-: Mary Vinson (m. 1998–2009)

children: Jake Blackwell, Ollie Blackwell

City: London, England

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Chris Blackwell is an English businessman and former record producer. He is the founder of Island records, which is one of Britain’s greatest independent labels. He had been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, and according to them, he is “the single person most responsible for turning the world on to reggae music." Blackwell was born in Westminster, England. He spent his childhood in Jamaica. Later, he returned to England to continue his education at Harrow. It was during his early twenties that he formed Island Records with a startup investment provided by his parents. He began popularizing Jamaican music. His first song to be produced in the Jamaican style “ska” was a cover of the 1956 Barbie Gaye song ‘My Boy Lollypop’. His business eventually grew and became one of the most successful labels of the 1960s and beyond. Over the course of his career, he has worked with artistes such as Nirvana, King Crimson and Robert Palmer.

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Career
  • Chris Blackwell formed Island Records in 1958, when he was in his early twenties. He received a startup investment of $10,000 from his parents for this purpose. His first business partner was Graeme Goodall, a radio personality. Their first release was a piano and vocal album by Lance Hayward, a Bermudian jazz pianist.
  • In 1961, Blackwell worked in the James Bond film ‘Dr No’, as a location scout and production assistant. After the film production wrapped, he was offered a full-time position. Since it was difficult for him to choose between music and films, he went to a psychic, who told him that he would find success if he chose music.
  • By 1962, Island had already released 26 singles as well as two albums. He now began marketing a certain style of Jamaican music, which became known as ‘ska’. In 1964, he produced Millie Small’s cover of a 1956 Barbie Gaye song named ‘My Boy Lollypop’. It was one of his first songs in the ska style. It became an international hit, selling six million records. It also increased the popularity of Island Records.
  • Throughout the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, Island Records remained one of the most successful independent labels, producing songs by artistes such as Nirvana, King Crimson, Grace Jones, John Martyn, Spooky Tooth, Robert Palmer and Melissa Etheridge. He also signed artistes from non-English speaking countries like French singer Charlélie Couture.
  • He also moved into movies, and in 1972, he released ‘The Harder They Come’. It was the first time that Jamaican themes appeared in mainstream cinema. Another one of his accomplishments is bringing Bob Marley and The Wailers to a worldwide audience.
  • Blackwell also formed Mango Records, which featured artistes from Jamaica as well as from the Third World. The label introduced several artistes and bands like Burning Spear, Third World, and Salif Keita. Blackwell has also been involved in multiple philanthropic activities.
  • In 2001, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He also received the Ahmet Ertegun Award for his contribution to music. He thanked Steve Winwood during his acceptance speech.
  • He currently runs Island Outpost, which was set up to operate and market a group of elite resorts in Jamaica, such as Strawberry Hill in the Blue Mountains.
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Family & Personal Life
  • Chris Blackwell was born in Westminster, England, on 22 June 1937, to Joseph Blackwell and Blanche Lindo Blackwell. His mother was a Costa Rican-born Jamaican heiress. He spent his early years in Jamaica where his father served as a major in the Jamaica Regiment. He was 12 when his parents divorced.
  • Chris Blackwell’s first wife was Ada Blackwell. He was later married to Mary Vinson from 1998 to her death in 2009. He has two children named Jake and Ollie. His current relationship status is not known.
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How To Cite

Article Title
- Chris Blackwell Biography
Author
- Editors, TheFamousPeople.com
Website
- TheFamousPeople.com
URL
https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/chris-blackwell-48889.php
Last Updated
- October 14, 2019
Chris Blackwell

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