b. Harris Seaton, 3 September 1944, Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies. Seaton, sometimes known as ‘Bibby’, was initially encouraged to enter the music business by Boris Gardiner, who asked him to sing in a group known as the Rhythm Aces. When his vocal skills attracted the attention of Coxsone Dodd, the producer took him to the studio and recorded ‘Only You’. While at Studio One he recorded alongside Delano Stewart and Maurice Roberts as the Gaylads, originally performing in the mento style. The group initially recorded their debut in 1958 but soon afterwards split up. By 1960 they had re-formed as Bibby And The Astronauts, enjoying hits with ‘Rub It Down’ and, as the Gaylads, ‘Lady In The Red Dress’. In 1972 Seaton recommenced his solo career and developed his songwriting skills. He enjoyed a number of hits, including ‘The Thin Line Between Love And Hate’, ‘Miss My Schooldays’ and a version of Bill Withers’ ‘Lean On Me’. His composing abilities resulted in hit songs for Ken Boothe (‘Freedom Street’), the Melodians (‘Swing And Dine’) and Delroy Wilson (‘Gave You My Love’). He returned to harmonizing when he joined forces with Boothe alongside Lloyd Charmers and Busty Brown in the Messengers, who enjoyed hits with ‘Cherry Baby’ and ‘Crowded City’. Following on from the group’s demise, he was the first reggae performer to be signed by Virgin Records, which led to the inauguration of the notorious Front Line label. His production was not well received, as the final mix was overwhelmed by the use of synthesizers and electric piano. By the mid-70s Seaton was based in the UK, where he secured a producer’s contract with the Jama label and released his own cover version of ‘Born Free’, which, in spite of the song’s middle of the road reputation, was a big hit. He has remained active within the industry, including a memorable performance at the British Reggae Awards and a worthy contribution on the BRAFA single, and although he has not achieved chart-busting hits, he has maintained a loyal following among the major figures in the industry. His son Richard has followed in his father’s footsteps, working with Mary J. Blige, Boyz II Men and Shabba Ranks. In 1996 B.B. Seaton was involved in sessions alongside Little Roy, whose debut, ‘Cool It’, was erroneously credited to the Gaylads.
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