In 1970 Bob Andy And Marcia Griffiths put out their rendition of the Nina Simone classic for Harry J Records in Kingston and later released in the UK and distributed by Trojan Records. Bob Andy and Marcia Griffiths had enjoyed successful solo careers in their native Jamaica, both having previously scored significant hits for Studio One Records. Soon after joining Harry Johnson’s stable of artists, the duo made the British pop charts with a joyous reggae version of Nina Simone’s To Be Young, Gifted And Black, which peaked at number five in the spring of 1970.
Laurence Cane-Honeysett, a senior executive at Trojan Records, stated that the song was wildly popular in that country which had a growing black population. “Its impact was profound, although this wasn't necessarily immediately apparent. It may surprise many now, given the song's lyrics, but it was hugely popular among people from a wide spectrum of backgrounds, crossing boundaries of colour or nationality,” Cane-Honeysett told the Jamaica Observer.
He noted that, “Prior to its release, reggae had been widely dismissed by the British national press as just a novelty, which would soon be forgotten outside of the Afro-Caribbean community at least. But Bob and Marcia's recording changed a lot of attitudes in that regard. It also opened the minds of a lot of white people to the struggles and successes of their black peers.”
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