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Burning Spear Biography

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Birth Name: Winston Rodney
Born: 1948/03/01
Years Active: 1969 – present
Genres: Reggae

Winston Rodney was born on March 1, 1945 in Saint Ann's Bay, Saint Ann, Jamaica, and is a reggae singer and musician. Known by his stage name, Burning Spear, Rodney has been part of the Rastafarian movement and an advocate for the work of activist, Marcus Garvey. Rodney was greatly influenced by Bob Marley as an up-and-coming musician. Rodney met Marley in 1969, and Marley helped Rodney get his start in the music industry by introducing him to Clement Dodd, who owned Studio One Records.

Burning Spear was originally the name of the trio that Rodney was part of with Rupert Willington and Delroy Hinds. The trio was signed to Studio One Records and released a number of albums together before Rodney decided to pursue a solo career in 1976. Rodney kept the band name as his own and released his debut solo album, “Dry and Heavy” in 1977 on Island Records. That same year saw Rodney performing in London with Aswad. Rodney developed a strong and loyal following in the U.K. and performed a number of sold out shows with Aswad that year. His second offering, “Social Living” emerged in 1978.

1980 saw Rodney leave Island Records and sign to EMI Records. His debut for the label, “Hail H.I.M.” wasn't as successful as the label would have liked it to be and by 1982, Rodney had signed with Heartbeat Records. He then released a succession of successful albums, including the 1985 Grammy-nominated album, “Resistance.” Rodney returned to Island Records in the early 1990s, releasing two albums before leaving yet again and returning to Heartbeat Records.

Rodney's 1999 album, “Calling Rastafari” led him to his first Grammy Award in 2000. 2002 saw Rodney and his wife start Burning Spear Records, giving Rodney more creative control over his own music.