Celebrating their 50th anniversary this year, Trojan Records are proud to announce first details of a year-long celebration of their unique history, taking in a series of live events, catalogue music releases, a documentary and definitive coffee table book.
Named after the flatbed truck that revered producer Duke Reid used to move his soundsystem around Jamaica, Trojan was launched in 1968 by London-based, Jamaican expats Lee Gopthal and Chris Blackwell. Initially formed as a UK outlet for Reid’s releases, the label went on to bring the likes of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Desmond Dekker, The Pioneers, Bob Marley, Prince Buster and Jimmy Cliff to mainstream audiences.
Aside from their overtly commercial output, the company also highlighted music by artists largely unknown outside Jamaica, many of which would later become major international recording stars – among these were Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs and a Kingston-based vocal trio called Bob Marley & The Wailers.
With the advent of streaming and curated playlists, the rejuvenation of Trojan’s back catalogue continues with hoards of new fans discovering the records their favourite contemporary artist reference and sample with continued regularity. This year will see a broad selection of albums dropping from that catalogue, catering for everyone from the casual fan to the deepest Trojan head.
A new range of genre-themed double-CD titles was unveiled on February 23, with the release of This Is Trojan Ska and This Is Trojan Reggae, with subsequent collections appearing on April 27 [This is Trojan Rock Steady and This is Trojan Boss Reggae] and June 22 [This is Trojan Roots and This is Trojan Dub]. May 25 sees the release of Ska & Reggae Classics, a TV-advertised 3CD and digital release, just in time to welcome the start of summer.
At the apex of a busy period of releases comes the 50th Anniversary Box Set, a definitive collectors item that will be dropping on July 27, and featuring 4x 12” LP, 6CD, 2 x 7” vinyl, an album covers book, 7” adapter, poster, patch and slipmat.
Later in the year there will also be a coffee table book, The Story of Trojan Records written by Laurence Cane-Honeysett, a joint venture between BMG Books and Eye Books. It will contain hundreds of photographs, record sleeves, labels and archive material, most of which has remained unseen for decades.
What’s more, BMG and Pulse Films recently wrapped production on the new documentary Rudeboy: The Story of Trojan Records. The film chronicles the rise and impact of the legendary reggae, ska and rock steady label and its influence on music and subsequent cultural movement in Britain from the early 1960s through the late ‘70s. The film is expected to make its film festival debut this year.
Fans should also continue to watch social channels and press for forthcoming details about Trojan Reloaded, a frontline label imprint set to release new music from the Trojan stable for the first time in over 25 years.
Trojan Records’ Laurence Cane-Honeysett says;
‘Trojan’s place in the development of mainstream popular culture should never be underestimated. Often hailed as the Motown or Blue Note of reggae, the company introduced the sound of Jamaica to a global audience and by so doing was instrumental in forever changing the sound of popular music. A success story that is both British and Jamaican, its importance is reflected in the fact that after 50 years in business, Trojan continues to attract music fans the world over.’
Filmmaker, DJ, Radio Broadcaster and Trojan fan Don Letts says:
“This is the label that scored a shed load of chart hits and provided a soundtrack that united the youth, black and white on the dance-floor – I know I was one of them. Recognised by any fan of Jamaican music as a mark of quality Trojan holds a special place in the hearts, minds and feet of the people and will do for generations to come”
Trojan 50 Live Events
● Monthly club nights every 2nd Saturday of the month. The Social, London
● 25th May: 50th, Picture House, Sheffield
● 22nd June: Kala Festival, Albania
● 7th July: NASS Festival, Somerset UK
● 19th July: Dub Camp [Nantes] 50th special headline with Dawn Penn, Ranking Joe and Dennis Alcapone
● 27th July: Jazzaldia Fest [San Sebastian] 50th special with Dawn Penn and Dennis Alcapone
● 28th July: Lunar Festival [Birmingham] ● 5th August 2018: Eastern Electrics Festival [London] ● 5th August: London Craft Beer Festival
● 26th August: Festival Le Cabaret Vert, Charleville-Mezieres, France
● 8th Sept: Tots Fest at Alexandra Palace, [London] ● 14th September: The Globe, [Cardiff] More dates and details to announced shortly.