Introduction

In the vibrant tapestry of music history, Trojan Records stands as a monumental chapter, intricately woven with the beats of ska, rocksteady, reggae, and dub. Founded in 1968 by Jamaican Duke Reid, this British record label has left an indelible mark on the music landscape. Let’s delve into the rhythmic journey of Trojan Records and explore its profound influence.

The Origin: Duke Reid’s Trojan Truck

Trojan Records owes its name to the iconic Croydon-built Trojan truck, a vital component of Duke Reid’s sound system in Jamaica. Painted with “Duke Reid – The Trojan King of Sounds,” the truck became synonymous with the music played by Reid, birthing the term “Trojan Sound.”

The UK Chart Conquest

Between 1969 and 1976, Trojan Records dominated the UK Singles Chart with nearly 30 hit singles. This period marked a pivotal moment as the label propelled reggae into the global spotlight, laying the foundation for its widespread recognition.

Founding and Early Years

Founded in 1968 through a collaboration between Lee Gopthal and Chris Blackwell’s Island Records, Trojan Records initially operated from a warehouse in Neasden Lane, Willesden, London. This partnership aimed to introduce Jamaican music to a broader audience, setting the stage for future success.

Triumphs and Notable Artists

Trojan Records played a pivotal role in introducing reggae to the masses. The early 1970s witnessed major UK chart hits from artists like Judge Dread, Tony Tribe, Lee “Scratch” Perry’s Upsetters, and many more. The label’s success was fueled by licenses for Jamaican music from prominent producers such as Duke Reid, Harry Johnson, and Leslie Kong.

Chris Blackwell’s Withdrawal and Financial Struggles

In 1972, Chris Blackwell decided to withdraw Island Records’ interests in Trojan. Despite initial success in broadening the appeal of reggae, the company faced financial challenges due to the costs of remastering and overdubbing string arrangements. In 1975, Trojan Records underwent liquidation, and its assets were acquired by Marcel Rodd’s Saga Records.

Resurgence under Colin Newman

In 1985, Trojan Records found a new lease on life under the ownership of record collector and accountant Colin Newman. The focus shifted to re-releasing the label’s extensive catalogue, including ska, rocksteady, and reggae recordings. The Trojan Box Set series became a fan favourite, featuring 50 songs on a three-CD set.

Acquisition and Evolution

The Sanctuary Records Group acquired Trojan Records in 2001, continuing to celebrate the label’s rich history. In 2002, they expanded their portfolio by acquiring Creole Records. The journey continued in 2013 when BMG acquired Trojan from Universal Music Group, marking a new phase in the label’s evolution.

Celebrating 50 Years

In 2018, Trojan Records proudly celebrated its 50th anniversary, a testament to its enduring impact on the music industry. The milestone highlighted the label’s resilience and ability to stay relevant across decades.

Influence on Skinheads

Beyond music, Trojan Records left an indelible mark on subcultures. Trojan skinheads, harkening back to traditional 1960s culture, draw inspiration from the label, showcasing the influence of black Jamaican music and the rude boy style. The connection between Trojan Records and skinheads is a unique cultural synergy that has endured through time.

Trojan Records stands as a living legacy, echoing the vibrant rhythms that continue to resonate with audiences worldwide.