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The Gladiators formed - 1965 (Santa Cruz, Jamaica)

Albert Griffith - b. January 1, 1946
Clinton Fearon
Dallimore Sutherland
David Webber 1965-1970
Errol Grandison

The dynamic combination of founding member Albert Griffith's gutsy, baritone, lead vocals and the harmonies of Clinton Fearon and falsetto singer Dallimore Sutherland have made The Gladiators one of reggae's most influential acts. Over the past three decades, the group has continued to extend the Rockers tradition. Born to poor, Christian, farmers, in the parish of St. Elizabeth's, Griffith was fascinated wih Church music from an early age. Taught his first guitar chords by an uncle, he added to his knowledge of the instrument through the lessons he got from local guitarists in exchange for carrying their instruments to gigs.

Coming to Kingston, in 1960, in search of work, his pursuits were so unsuccessful that he decided to focus on his music instead. This dream was no more successful, however, as he continued to be discouraged by local record producers. A turning point came when he found employment as a mason. A fellow worker, Leonard Dillon, who later formed The Ethiopians, shared his passion for music and the two agreed to pool their resources. Convincing their employer to finance a recording session, Griffith recorded his debut single, "You Are The Girl". Released in 1966 and credited to Al & The Ethiopians, the tune was the flipside of The Ethiopian's major hit, "Train To Skaville". In 1967, Griffith recruited David Webber and Errol Grandison and formed The Gladiators.

Their first single as a group, "The Train Is Coming Back", became a modest hit. Although the group recorded for Duke Reid and Lloyd Daley, they scored their first major hit in 1968 with the Coxsone Dodd-produced, "Hello Carol". They continued to record for Dodd in the 1970s, in addition to recording several singles for Lee Perry and Randy's Studio 17. In the mid-70s, the group began a long association with Tony Robinson who released their albums on the Groovemaster label in Jamaica and the Virgin label in the U.K..In the early-1980s, The Gladiators swiched to the Nighthawk label for three albums-"Symbol Of Reality", "Serious Thing" and "Full Time" and one album, "Dread Prophesy", recorded in collaboration with Leonard Dillon. The group recorded five albums in the late-1980s and early-90s for the Heartbeat label. The Gladiators experienced personnel changes in 1969 and 1973. Webber was replaced by Clinton Fearon in 1969 and Grandison by Dallimore Sutherland in 1973. In the mid-80s, The Gladiators toured with Yabby You and The Ethiopians.

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