The Story Of A Legend Lost, But Never Forgotten, The Remarkable Journey of Garnett Silk

Garnet Silk (born Garnet Damion Smith; 2 April 1966 – 9 December 1994) was a Jamaican reggae musician and Rastafarian, known for his diverse, emotive, powerful and smooth voice. During the early 1990s he was hailed as a rising talent, however his career was ended by his early death in 1994, while attempting to save his mother from her burning house.

The Story Of A Legend Lost, But Never Forgotten, The Remarkable Journey of Garnett Silk

Garnett Silk, born in Manchester, Jamaica, was a talented musician whose career spanned from the 1980s to the early 1990s. Starting off as a deejay under the name Little Bimbo, Silk eventually transitioned into singing and became one of the most influential reggae artists of his time. This article explores his journey, musical collaborations, and the tragic event that cut short his promising career. Join us as we delve into the life and legacy of Garnett Silk, a true icon of Jamaican music.

1. The Early Years:

At the tender age of twelve, Garnett Silk embarked on his musical journey as a deejay, performing under the name Little Bimbo. He quickly gained recognition in the vibrant sound system scene, working with renowned systems such as Conquering Lion, Soul Remembrance, Pepper's Disco, Stereophonic, and Destiny Outernational. It was during this period that he first crossed paths with Tony Rebel, a fateful encounter that would shape his future.

2.The Transition to Singing:
In 1989, veteran singer Derrick Morgan suggested that Silk explore a new avenue in his musical career. Encouraged by this advice, he embarked on a recording session at Bunny Lee's studio, collaborating with Tony Rebel and Anthony Selassie. Gradually, Silk began to shift from deejaying to singing, showcasing his versatile talent and smooth voice.

3.The Tony Rebel Connection:
Silk's collaboration with Tony Rebel proved to be extremely fruitful. They formed a duo and captivated audiences with their dynamic performances. The Garnett Silk Meets the Conquering Lion: A Dub Plate Selection album, featuring exclusive recordings from the mid-1980s to the end of the decade, showcases their remarkable chemistry and talent.

4. Stepping into the Spotlight:
Signing a two-year contract with Steely & Clevie in 1990, Silk recorded a plethora of songs that showcased his lyrical prowess and captivating melodies. His debut album, "It's Growing," released in 1992, became a bestseller in Jamaica and included the hit single "Hello Mama Africa." This track marked Silk's first international success, reaching the top of the reggae charts in Britain.

5. Working with Renowned Producers:

Throughout his career, Silk collaborated with esteemed producers including King Tubby, Prince Jammy, Donovan Germain, and Bobby Digital. These partnerships resulted in a string of hits, such as "Zion in a Vision," "Hey Mama Africa," and "Thank You, Jah." Silk's unique blend of deeply cultural, spiritual, and romantic themes resonated with audiences worldwide.

6. Overcoming Challenges:
Silk's hectic schedule took a toll on his health, leading to a collapse during a show in New York City. Forced to cancel his appearances and recover, he returned stronger than ever. Silk headlined the prestigious Reggae Sumfest and Reggae Sunsplash festivals in 1994, leaving a lasting impression on fans and critics alike.

7. A Promising Future Cut Short:
As Silk's star continued to rise, tragedy struck on December 9, 1994. While visiting his mother in Mandeville, Jamaica, a misfire from a borrowed gun caused a propane tank to explode, engulfing the house in flames. Silk, along with his friends and brothers, managed to escape, but his mother remained trapped inside. In a brave attempt to save her, Silk reentered the burning house, but both lost their lives in the devastating fire.

8. Legacy and Posthumous Recognition:
Silk's music continues to resonate with audiences worldwide, and his legacy is celebrated through various tributes and compilation albums. Macka B's "Tribute to Garnett Silk" and the Earth Day concert are just a few examples of the enduring love for his music. In 2000, Atlantic Records released "The Definitive Collection," a two-CD set featuring the ten tracks Silk recorded for his unfinished second album.

Despite his untimely passing, his music lives on, inspiring generations of reggae enthusiasts. As we remember this reggae legend, let us cherish the timeless melodies and heartfelt lyrics that continue to make Garnett Silk a true icon of Jamaican music.

For more information and updates on Jamaican music legends like Garnett Silk, visit