Mike Dread at the Controls


Howard Campbell

Friday, August 10, 2012

Print this page Email A Friend!

In commemoration of Jamaica's 50th anniversary of Independence from Britain, the Jamaica Observer's Entertainment section recognises 50 persons who made significant, yet unheralded, contributions to the country's culture. This week we feature Mikey Dread.

THE Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation (JBC) produced its share of firebrands during the 1970s. One of them was Michael 'Mikey Dread' Campbell.

He is best known for his Dread At The Controls radio programme which aired for two years on the JBC where the Portland-born Campbell began working as a transmitter engineer in 1976.

The show played the cutting-edge sounds of producers Osbourne 'King Tubby' Ruddock and Augustus Pablo and dancehall singers like Linval Thompson.

In a 2003 interview with the Jamaica Observer, Campbell cited Dread At The Controls among his biggest achievements.

"Before that show come along, people at the JBC wanted to play classical music which had no relevance to Jamaican people," he said.

Campbell was part of a formidable disc jockey unit at the JBC. His colleagues included Errol 'ET' Thompson and the emerging Barry 'Barry G' Gordon.

In 1977, he launched Dread At The Controls which started at midnight on Sundays and ran for four-and-a-half hours. The show stayed away from mainstream music and gave recordings of underground producers an artistes a chance to be heard.

After two years on the air, Campbell left the JBC and went into music production. He produced singer Rod Taylor's His Imperial Majesty; Miss Molly and The Gun by Edi Fitzroy and worked with influential British punk band The Clash.

As 'Mikey Dread', he recorded hit songs such as Barber Saloon and African Map.

The maverick broadcaster/producer/artiste died in Connecticut in March, 2008 at age 53, six months after he was diagnosed with a brain tumour.




1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

comments powered by Disqus



Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon