Remembering ‘Killer’ Miller
WHEN word spread that Jacob “Killer” Miller died in a car crash in Kingston on March 23, 1980, Jamaica was stunned.
In fact, the speed with which the news spread across the country was amazing, given that the world, at that time, was devoid of the Internet and social media which now provide humans with almost instant information.
I can’t remember where I was when the tragic news broke. What I do recall, however, was that local radio stations started paying tribute to the Rastafarian singer, playing music from his impressive catalogue of hits that endeared him to Jamaicans and people across the world.
One of the most tragic realities for me was the fact that Miller was only 27 years old when he died and was definitely poised to become an even bigger star on the world stage.
In fact, Miller and his close friend Bob Marley had just returned from Brazil when he died. Both men journeyed to the South American country where they participated in the launch of a new office for their label, Island Records.
Although Keep On Knocking, released in 1974, is widely recognised as “Killer” Miller’s first recording success, I really started taking note of him when his All Night Till Daylight lit up the 1976 Festival Song Contest.
The song was an instant hit with the public, even though it took second place to Freddie McKay’s Dance This Ya Festival, which, itself, was a track from the top drawer.
Miller’s signature tenor and staccato-style endings to the verses of his songs set him apart from his contemporaries; so too did his high-energy stage performances.
It’s difficult to choose his top 10 songs, but those that stand out for me are All Night Till Daylight, Disciplined Child, Tenement Yard, Chapter A Day, I’ve Got The Handle, Mixed Up Moods, Peace Treaty, and Standing Firm.
Miller would have turned 66 today.