There’s some remarkable stories from ex-Island Records staffers in this book. Bob Bell has written a wonderful piece on Jamaican music pioneer, Sonny Roberts. It explains a lot about about the founding days of Island Records, – how Sonny introduced Chris Blackwell to David Betteridge and to Lee Gopthal – and how Sonny rented the basement under the Island offices in Cambridge Road, Kilburn, to establish the first black-owned studio in the UK and the first black owned record company with Planetone and Sway labels
“Sonny was not just a pioneering Jamaican who blazed cultural trails in postwar Britain, he was a sweet and gentle man who enriched the lives of all who met him. He was not just a trailblazer in his own right, with the studio, record labels and retail outlets, he was a major catalyst in the story of Jamaican music, and its flowering throughout the world.” writes Bell, who worked with Roberts.
Last night, June 22, Sonny was honoured in Piccadilly Circus in a presentation screening on a gigantic screen, marking the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the MV Empire Windrush at Tilbury Docks. The 10-minute film was made by the Cultural Institute of Radical Contemporary Arts, in collaboration with London’s Evening Standard ES magazine and the Black Cultural Archives.
Pictured, Sonny Roberts #IBoR page in progress