From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"Working with producer Lee Perry, Coxsone Dodd began documenting the pre-reggae ska sound on his Studio One label in 1963. The Skatalites, ska's most important instrumental group, was his house band. Singers Delroy Wilson, Ken Boothe and Owen Gray and keyboardist Jackie Mittoo were the most influential performers in Dodd's stable."--Sholem Stein
Clement Seymour "Sir Coxsone" Dodd (Kingston, Jamaica, January 26, 1932 – May 5, 2004) was a Jamaican record producer whose label Studio One was influential in the development of ska and reggae since the 1950s and 60s.
He received his nickname "Coxsone" at school; because of his teenage talent as a cricketer, his friends compared him to Alec Coxon, a member of the famous 1940s edition of the Yorkshire County Cricket Club.
Dodd used to play records to the customers in his parents' shop. During a spell in the South of the United States of America he became familiar with the rhythm and blues music so popular there at the time. In 1954, back in Jamaica, he set up the Downbeat Sound System, being the owner of a PA, a turntable, and some U.S. records, which he would import from New Orleans and Miami. With the great success of his sound system, and in a highly competitive environment, Dodd would make trips through the States looking for new tunes to attract the Jamaican public. Dodd opened five different sound systems, each playing every night. To run his sound systems, Dodd appointed people like Lee "Scratch" Perry (who was Dodd's right hand man during his early career), U-Roy and Prince Buster.
When the R&B craze ended in the United States, Dodd and his rivals were forced to begin recording their own Jamaican music in order to meet the local demand for new music. Initially these recordings were exclusively for a particular sound system but the records quickly developed into an industry in their own right. In 1959 he founded a record company called World Disc. In 1963 he opened Studio One in Brentford Road, Kingston. It was the first black-owned recording studio in Jamaica (see 1963 in music). He held regular Sunday evening auditions in search of new talent, and it was here he discovered Bob Marley, singing as a part of The Wailers. He gave the group a five-year exclusive contract, paying them £20 for each song they recorded; for a time, Marley even slept in a back room of the studio. The Marley-penned song Simmer Down, a Dodd production, went to number one in Jamaica in February 1964.
During the late 1960s and early 1970s, the "Studio One sound" was virtually synonymous with the sound of ska and rocksteady, and Dodd attracted some of the best of Jamaican talent to his stable during this time, including eventual legends such as Winston "Burning Spear" Rodney, Ras Michael,Delroy Wilson, Horace Andy and Sugar Minott. He is also considered the first producer to emphasize Rastafarianism in reggae music.
He continued to be active in the music business into his seventies, and on Friday, May 1, 2004 Kingston's Brentford Road was renamed Studio One Boulevard in a ceremony which paid tribute to his accomplishments as a producer. He died suddenly of a heart attack four days later while working at Studio One.