Cornell Campbell

Cornel Campbell

Cornel Campbell performing with The Slackers in 2000
Background information
Also known as Don Cornell, Don Gorgon
Born November 23, 1945(1945-11-23)
Kingston, Jamaica
Genres Ska, rocksteady, reggae, lovers Rock
Occupations Singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals, Guitar
Years active 1956 – present
Labels Studio One, Trojan, Joe Gibbs
Associated acts The Eternals, The Sensations, The Uniques

Cornell Campbell aka Don Cornell or Don Gorgon (born 23 November 1945, Kingston, Jamaica) is a reggae singer, best known for his trademark falsetto voice, and his recordings at Studio One in the late 1960s and his later work with Bunny Lee in the 1970s.



Cornel has one of the sweetest falsettos of any Jamaican vocalist and uses it often to convey frustration, soul or despair. His first name was mistakenly spelled with two L's on a record and he's had to live with people misspelling his name ever since. He prefers the correct spelling: Cornel Campbell[citation needed]. Cornel's singing career began in his local church choir. At age eleven, in 1956, he was introduced to trombonist Rico Rodriguez, who took him to Clement Dodd's studio, where he recorded his first single, "My Treasure".[1] Further singles followed as Jamaican music transformed from rhythm and blues to ska, with backing from The Skatalites. He later recorded for King Edwards backed by The Bell Stars, before moving on again to Duke Reid's Treasure Isle, where he formed The Sensations along with Jimmy Riley, Buster Riley, and Aaron Davis.[1] When The Sensations split, Campbell emerged as leader of his own new vocal group, The Eternals, with Ken Price and Errol Wisdom, recording perennial favourites such as "Queen of The Minstrels" and "Stars". He was also briefly a member of The Uniques in the 1960s, although he may not have contributed to any recordings by the group at that time.[2][3]

Solo career

In 1971, now as a solo artist, he began a long association with Bunny Lee, initially working in the lovers rock genre, but soon working more roots songs into his repertoire. His self-titled debut album appeared in 1973, but his popularity peaked in the mid 1970s with the 'flying hi-hat' sound (played by drummer Santa Davis), leading to major Jamaican hits "Natty Dread In A Greenwich Farm", "Dance In A Greenwich Farm", "Stars" and "The Gorgon". He later enjoyed a huge hit in the early 80's rub-a-dub era with "Boxing" for Joe Gibbs.[2] Throughout the 1970s he also recorded with other record producers such as Winston Holness ("I Heart Is Clean") and Winston Riley ("Them A Bad").[2] By the late 1970s, Campbell's popularity had begun to wane and he increasingly concentrated on love songs, and after the mid 1980s, new recordings were less common, although he has maintained a strong following.

The Uniques were revived in the late 1970s, with Campbell joining Jimmy Riley and Lloyd Charmers in the group. This line-up recorded the Showcase vol. 1 album, and Campbell and Riley recorded the Give Thanks album in 1979. The group was again revived in 1997, with a line-up of Riley, Cornell Campbell, and Al Campbell, the group recording a self-titled album.

In 2005 "King In My Empire" was released on the Burial Mix label billed as by Rhythm and Sound with Cornell Campbell. The song was produced by Moritz Von Oswald and Mark Ernestus.



  • Cornell Campbell (1973) Trojan
  • Natty Dread In a Greenwich Farm (1975) Total Sounds
  • Dance In a Greenwich Farm (1975) Grounation
  • The Gorgon (1976) Total Sounds/Angen
  • Stalowatt (1976) Third World
  • Turn Back The Hands Of Time (1977) Third World
  • Superstar (1979) Micron (reissued as Sweet Baby (1979) Burning Sounds/Abraham)
  • Yes I Will (1979) Micron
  • The Inspector General (1980) Imperial
  • Ropin' (1980) Justice
  • Boxing (1982) Starlight
  • Boxing Round (1982) Joe Gibbs
  • What's Happening To Me (1982) Joe Gibbs
  • Follow Instructions (1983) Mobiliser (reissued as Press Along Natty (1993) Tappa)
  • Money (1983) Live & Learn
  • Fight Against Corruption (1983) Vista (reissued as Tell The People (1997) Prestige)
  • Big Things (2000) Don One
  • Rock My Soul (2008) Sip a Cup
Split albums
  • Johnnie Clarke Meets Cornell Campbell (1983) Vista (split with Johnnie Clarke)
  • Cornell Campbell Meets The Gaylads (1984) Culture Press (split with The Gaylads)
  • Double Top (1991) Tamoki Wambesi (split with Junior Reid)
  • Barry Brown Meets Cornell Campbell (2001) Culture Press (with Barry Brown)
  • Reggae Sun (1980)
  • Silver Jubilee (1993) Rhino
  • Sweet Dancehall Collection (1995) JA Classics
  • Magic Spell (1999) Studio One
  • Sings Hits From Studio One And More (1999) Rhino
  • The Minstrel (2000) Westside
  • I Shall Not Remove (2000) Blood & Fire
  • My Confession (2002) Charly
  • Original Blue Recordings (2003) Moll Selekta
  • Natty Dread (2005) Trojan
  • My Destination (2005) Kingston Sounds
  • Very Best (2006) Super Power
  • Legend (2011), Justice

With The Uniques

  • Showcase Vol. 1 (1978) Third World/Jackpot
  • Give Thanks (1979) Plant
  • The Uniques (1999) Charm

See also


  1. ^ a b Katz, David (2003) "Solid Foundation - an Oral History of Reggae", Bloomsbury, ISBN 0-7475-6847-2
  2. ^ a b c Barrow, Steve & Dalton, Peter (2004) "The Rough Guide to Reggae", Rough Guides, ISBN 1-84353-329-4
  3. ^ Ankeny, Jason "Cornell Campbell Biography", allmusic, Macrovision Corporation

External links


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  • Cornell campbell — Cornell Campbell, surnommé l Original Gorgon, est né à Kingston en 1945. Il est l un des piliers de la musique Jamaïcaine. Biographie Cornell Campbell commence à chanter à l âge de 11 ans. Au début des années 60, il commence à enregistrer avec… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Cornell Campbell — Cornell Campbell, surnommé l Original Gorgon, est né à Kingston en 1945. Il est l un des piliers de la musique jamaïcaine. Biographie Cornell Campbell commence à chanter à l âge de 11 ans. Au début des années 1960, il commence à enregistrer avec… …   Wikipédia en Français

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