Created by pioneering sound system operator, Duke Reid, Treasure Isle Records was one of the most powerful presences on the Jamaican music scene throughout the sixties and early seventies, rivalled only by Coxson Dodd’s Studio One enterprise.
During this period, an array of Jamaican best-sellers saw issue on the famed imprint and a number of sister labels, such as Trojan, Dutchess and Sure Shot, which featured the very best in ska, rock steady and reggae by such celebrated acts as John Holt, Alton Ellis, Justin Hinds & The Dominoes, U Roy and the undisputed queen of sixties Jamaican music, Phyllis Dillon.
Its Jamaican success was reflected in the UK where Duke Reid’s records were firm favourites among the country’s West Indian communities, as well as young British mods and their successors, the skinheads.
Treasure Isle's influence and credibility among Jamaican music fans in the UK is illustrated by the decision to use his ‘Trojan Records’ label as the name of the company that of course went on to dominate the British Reggae scene until the mid-seventies.
Duke Reid’s music remained a cornerstone of Trojan Records and the reggae industry as a whole up until his untimely passing in 1975, but despite his loss, his catalogue has since continued to exert an influence, both locally and internationally, with its hits sampled and re-recorded by countless performers.
Among the songs most successfully revived are the Paragons’ ‘The Tide Is High’ (a number one hit for Blondie), ‘Carry Go Bring Come’ by Justin Hinds & the Dominoes (covered by numerous acts, including the Selecter) and Tommy McCook’s ‘Reggae Merengue’ (sampled by Lily Allen on her hit, ‘LDN’), while Joya Landis’ version of ‘Angel Of The Morning’ inspired Shaggy’s international chart topper, ‘Angel’.
In 2012, Treasure Isle finally returned to the Trojan fold in style, when the label acquiring exclusive full worldwide rights, along with access to the original tape archive, containing literally hundreds of unissued recordings.
In addition, as part of the agreement, Trojan also gained worldwide rights to the catalogues of Lindon Pottinger and his celebrated wife Sonia Pottinger, who between the mid-sixties and late seventies released countless hits on her Gay Feet and High Note imprints, with artists such as Marcia Griffiths, Max Romeo, Bob Andy, Culture and Junior Murvin on her highly impressive roster.