The Gladiators are a Jamaican roots reggae
|Past members||Albert Griffiths|
Albert Griffiths, a singer and guitarist, was one of the founding members of the reggae group The Gladiators. As a result of his early success with the single “You Are The Girl” (a b-side to The Ethiopians’ hit record “Train to Skaville”), he recruited his childhood friends David Webber and Errol Grandison in 1968 to form the original Gladiators vocal group. At the time of the group’s first recordings, a fellow bus passenger is reported to have suggested the group’s name to them.
It was in 1968 that the group achieved its first major success with the single “Hello Carol”, which was produced by Coxsone Dodd, and went on to top the Jamaican music charts. As a result of Webber’s health problems, he was replaced by Clinton Fearon, one of Griffiths’ proteges, shortly afterwards, in 1969. Similar to Grandison, Gallimore Sutherland took over in 1973 when Grandison left the group due to family commitments.
The Gladiators recorded numerous records for various producers during the early 1970s, such as Lloyd Daley and Lee Perry. However, it was their recordings for Dodd at Studio One that became the biggest hits during this period. During the time that the Gladiators were at Studio One, their hits included “Bongo Red”, “Jah Jah Go Before Us”, “Mr. Baldwin”, and “Roots Natty”.
It was the success of these recordings that caught the attention of British-based Virgin Records, who gave the group their first major recording contract in 1976. Their debut album released on Virgin Records was the Tony Robinson-produced Trenchtown Mix Up (1976), which included revisions of many of their early hits. They followed this up with Proverbial Reggae (1978). At the time Gladiators was a band with Albert Griffiths on lead guitar and vocals, Clinton Fearon on bass guitar and vocals, Gallimore Sutherland on rhythm guitar and vocals, Sly Dunbar on drums, Lloyd Parks on bass, Uziah “Sticky” Thompson on percussion, Ansel Collins on keyboards and Earl ‘Wire’ Lindo on synthesizer. The record producers were Errol Thompson and Joe Gibbs, while the engineers were Errol Thompson and Joe Gibbs, respectively.