Ernest Wilson (born: Fitzroy Ernest Wilson) and Peter Austin were still teenagers when they formed the Clarendonians, in 1965. Expanded into a trio, with the addition of seven year old singing sensation, Freddie McGregor, the Clarendonians became one of the most successful ska and early reggae groups in Jamaica. Although they were together for less than four years, they scored with such hits as "You Can't Keep A Cool Man Down", "She Be Do Be" and their biggest smash, "You Can't Be Happy". They helped to usher in the "rude boy" era of ska with such tunes as "Rudie Gone A Jail" and "Rudie Bam Bam". Friends since childhood, Wilson and Austin began singing at local talent contests. Their first break came when they were heard by influential record producer Coxsone Dodd. Dodd was so impressed, he signed them to his Studio One label and suggested that they add McGregor, who was so young that he had to stand on a beer crate to reach the microphone. In addition to crediting many of the group's records to the Clarendonians, Dodd attributed several of their recordings to Freddie and Fitzie, Freddie and Peter or to any of the three singers as soloists. Following the Clarendonians's disbanding, Wilson continued to perform as a soloist. For a brief period, he worked with the Techniques, using the pseudonym King Shark. After releasing several singles produced by Dodd, McGregor achieved international success with the release of his debut album, Bobby Babylon, compiled of previously unreleased tracks. Austin was far less successful, disappearing into oblivion shortly after the demise of the Clarendonians.
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