Gene Rondo

b. Winston Lara, May 1943, d. June 1994, Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies. Rondo was involved in the music business from the late 50s. He entered the Vere Johns Opportunity Hour where he found success with…
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Artist Biography

b. Winston Lara, May 1943, d. June 1994, Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies. Rondo was involved in the music business from the late 50s. He entered the Vere Johns Opportunity Hour where he found success with his partner Satch. By 1960 he recorded ‘Love My Little Queenie’ and ‘Squeeze Me’, and in 1962 he left Jamaica for the UK, where he continued with his musical career. Rondo initially trained as a classical vocalist, studying at a school in Hammersmith, London, and performing the classics in Covent Garden. He worked on numerous recording sessions in a R&B style, including the local hits ‘Because You’re Mine’, ‘It’s Got To Be Mellow’ and ‘Grey Life’. In 1970 he formed a band called the Undivided, who performed around the UK and released a pop reggae album for Decca Records, although the lack of promotion resulted in an ambiguous collection. Rondo continued to record as a soloist with Trojan Records, including ‘Sentimental Reasons’ and ‘A Lovers Question’. With Magnet Records he recorded with Mike Dorane for ‘Valley Of Tears’ and ‘Impossible Dream’. Rondo worked for a number of UK-based producers, including Clement Bushay (‘You Said You Love Me’), Dennis Harris (‘Ms Grace’), and Count Shelly (‘I’m In A Different World’). Proving to be a prolific artist both in the studios and performing live, Rondo was invited to accompany Susan Cadogan when she sang ‘Hurts So Good’ on Top Of The Pops. In the mid-70s Rondo embraced Rastafari and with Bunny Lee recorded ‘A Land Far Away’, as well as the more conventional ‘Why You Do That’ and ‘Everything Going Up Love’. Often regarded as an erratic recording artist, in 1983 he had a success with ‘Prisoner In Love’, although his solo work is overshadowed by his extraordinary efforts in the BRAFA project. The British Reggae Artists Famine Appeal formed an allegiance in 1985, resulting in the recording of ‘Let’s Make Africa Green Again’. The various artists that gathered for the song included Rondo alongside Dennis Brown, Ken Parker, B.B. Seaton, Trevor Walters, Danny Ray, Winston Reedy, Janet Kay, Aswad, and the Chosen Few. The music was provided by Undivided Roots, who, it is claimed, evolved from Rondo’s original incarnation in the early 70s. Following his death in 1994, a memorial concert featuring Alton Ellis, Prince Lincoln, Justin Hinds, Dennis Alcapone, Owen Gray and Carroll Thompson was held in honour of Rondo.