Derrick Morgan is a Jamaican musical artist popular in the 1960s and 1970s.
He worked with Desmond Dekker, Bob Marley, and Jimmy Cliff in the ska genre, and also performed rocksteady and skinhead reggae. He was born on March 27, 1940, in Stewarton, in the parish of Clarendon. In 1957, Morgan entered the Vere Johns Opportunity Hour, a talent show held at the Palace Theatre in Kingston. He won with rousing impressions of Little Richard, and shortly after that, was recruited to perform around the island with the popular Jamaican comedy team, Bim and Bam.
In 1959, Morgan entered the recording studio for the first time. Duke Reid, the acclaimed sound system boss, was looking for talent to record for his Treasure Isle label. Derrick Morgan cut two popular shuffle-boogie sides "Lover Boy," aka "S-Corner Rock," and "Oh My." Soon after, Morgan cut the bolero-tinged boogie, "Fat Man," which also became a hit. He also found time to record for Coxsone Dodd.
In 1960, Derrick Morgan became the first artist to have spots 1-7 on national pop charts simultaneously, a feat to this day has never been matched. Among those hits were “Don’t Call Me Daddy,” “In My Heart,” “Be Still” and “Meekly Wait and Murmur Not.” But it would be the following year that Morgan would release the biggest hit of his career, the Leslie Kong production of “You Don’t Know,” later re-titled, “Housewives’ Choice” by a local DJ. The song featured a bouncing ska along with a duet sung by Morgan and Millicent “Patsy” Todd.
“Housewives’ Choice,” began the legendary rivalry between Morgan and Prince Buster, who accused Morgan of stealing his ideas. Buster quickly released, “Blackhead Chiney Man,” chiding Morgan with that sarcastic putdown of, “I did not know your parents were from Hong Kong,” a clear swipe at Kong. Morgan returned with the classic, “Blazing Fire,” in which he warns Buster to “Live and let others live, and your days will be much longer. You said it. Now it’s the Blazing Fire.” Buster shot back with, “Watch It Blackhead,” which Morgan countered with, “No Raise No Praise,” and “Still Insist.” Followers of both artists often clashed, and eventually the government had to step with a staged photo-op depicting the rivals as friends.
In the mid-1960s, when ska evolved into the cooler, more soulful rocksteady period. Morgan continued to release top quality material, including the seminal rude boy classic, “Tougher Than Tough,” “Do the Beng Beng,” Conquering Ruler,” and a cover of Ben E. King’s soul hit, “Seven Letters.” Often backed by master guitarist, Lynn Taitt, Morgan remained popular in Jamaica and the UK into the early seventies. In 1969, Morgan cut the famous skinhead anthem, “Moon Hop.” However, failing eyesight forced him from the stage. Derrick Morgan still performs occasionally at ska revival shows across the world