Mikey Dread

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Mikey Dread
Mikey Dread performing at the 2006 Winnipeg Ska and Reggae Festival.
Background information
Birth name Michael George Campbell
Born (1954-06-04)4 June 1954
Port Antonio, Jamaica
Died 15 March 2008(2008-03-15) (aged 53)
Stamford, Connecticut, United States
Occupations Singer, Author, Composer, producer, and broadcaster
Years active 1978–2008
Associated acts The Clash
Website mikeydread.com

Michael George Campbell (4 June 1954 – 15 March 2008),[1] better known as Mikey Dread,[2] was a Jamaican singer, producer, and broadcaster. He was one of the most influential performers and innovators in reggae music. "His abilities, technical expertise, and unique vocal delivery combined to create a unique sound that tells the listener emphatically that it is the 'Dread at the Controls'."[3]


From an early age, Campbell showed a natural aptitude for engineering and electronics. In 1976, after he finished college, Campbell started out as an engineer with the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation (JBC).[4] Campbell wasn't impressed that the JBC's playlists mainly consisted of bland, foreign pop music at a time when some of the most potent reggae was being recorded in Jamaica. He convinced his JBC bosses to give him his own radio program called Dread At The Controls, where he played nothing but reggae. Before long, Campbell (now using the DJ name Mikey Dread) had the most popular program on the JBC. Well known for its fun and adventurous sonic style, Dread At The Controls became a hit all over Jamaica. Inevitably, JBC's conservative management and Campbell clashed, and he quit in protest.

Examples of Mikey Dread's distinctive radio chatter can be heard on the US release of the RAS label LP African Anthem Dubwise. Unlike its Jamaican counterpart Mikey Dread At The Controls Dubwise, his radio exclamations and chatter have been included and add quite a bit of atmosphere to the dubwise proceedings.

By 1979-80, Campbell had earned a solid reputation as a singer and producer and began recording his own material. Distinctive albums such as Dread at the Controls, Evolutionary Rockers, and World War III all became favorites amongst reggae fans. His collaboration with producers King Tubby and Carlton Patterson stand out as some of the best work each party has done.

Campbell's music attracted the attention of British punk rockers The Clash, who invited him over to England to produce some of their music.[5][6] Although initially suspicious of the strangers, Campbell soon became the best of friends with the band, producing their famous "Bankrobber" single[7][8] and performing on several songs on their 1980 album Sandinista!.[9] Campbell also toured with The Clash across Britain, Europe, and the US, gaining many new fans along the way.[9]

He studied at the National Broadcasting School in London where he perfected his media production/radio broadcasting skills, graduating with special commendations in 1980.[3]

During the early 1980s he provided vocals with the reggae collective Singers And Players on Adrian Sherwood's On-U Sound record label.

Dread produced ten dub tracks for UB40 and toured Europe and Scandinavia as their support artist.[4]

Mikey Dread performing at SOB's NYC on 8 April 2003

Some of his works in the United Kingdom include narrating reggae documentaries, hosting series such as Rockers Roadshow and the ever popular six-part Channel 4 reggae documentary series Deep Roots Music. He later recorded "The Source (Of Your Divorce)" for Warner Brothers Records US, which obtained regularly rotated video airplay.[3]

In 1991, Dread recorded Profile and African Anthem Revisited. He also toured in Europe and the US with Freddie McGregor, Lloyd Parks, We The People Band, and the Roots Radics Band.[3]

In 1992, he collaborated with former Guns N' Roses guitarist Izzy Stradlin on a duet entitled "Can't Hear 'Em". He was nominated for a NAIRD award, an award from the Billboard Magazine, for his work on his 1990 compilation album Mikey Dread's Best Sellers.[3]

In 1993, Mikey Dread was involved in several projects, including his tour supporting the album Obsession and working in TV with the Caribbean Satellite Network (CSN) where he was Program Director and On Air personality as well as Producer of various shows.[3]

In 1994 he presented The Culture Award of Honor in the Martin’s International Reggae Music Awards in Chicago. In 1995, he worked as a Radio DJ for WAVS 1170 AM and WAXY-AM 790 in Miami, Florida. In 1996 he participated in the Essential Music Festival as a performer in Brighton, UK.[3]

Mikey furthered his knowledge of TV/Video Production at the Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale, where he graduated in 1996 with Honors and at Lynn University in Boca Raton / Florida where he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in International Communications, with Magna Cum Laude honors.[3]

He did live appearances with The Clash, UB40, Bob Dylan, Carlos Santana, Macka B, and many other bands and artists. He also produced artists such as Sugar Minott, Junior Murvin, Earl Sixteen, Wally Bucker, Sunshine, Jah Grundy and Rod Taylor. He also worked closely with producer Trevor Elliot to launch musical career of singer Edi Fitzroy. Mikey Dread was the featured artist on "Lips Like Sugar" with Seal for the soundtrack of the 2004 film, 50 First Dates.[4]

Mikey Dread, 2006

After many years working as a producer and singer, Campbell withdrew from the business and moved to Miami where he furthered his college education with courses in electronics and business. Disgusted with several unfair contracts with record companies, Campbell shrewdly waited until all of the existing contracts expired and then regained control over his entire catalogue. He began re-releasing much of it on his own Dread At The Controls record label.

Dread, together with The Blizzard of 78, featured on The Sandinista! Project, a tribute to the 1980 Clash album Sandinista!, with the song "Silicone on Sapphire". The tribute album, recorded in 2004, was released on 15 May 2007 by the 00:02:59 Records (a label named after a lyric from the Sandinista! song "Hitsville UK").[10][11][12]

In October 2007, it was announced that Campbell was being treated for a brain tumour.[13] He died on 15 March 2008, surrounded by his family, at the home of his sister in Stamford, Connecticut.[1]


Studio albums[edit]

Year Album
1979 African Anthem
Dread at the Controls
1980 World War III
1981 Beyond World War III
1982 Dub Catalogue Volume 1
Dub Merchant
Jungle Signal
Pave the Way
1989 Happy Family
1991 Profile
African Anthem Revisited
1992 Obsession
1995 Come to Mikey Dread's Dub Party
2000 World Tour
2002 Rasta in Control
2007 Life Is a stage


Year Album
1989 African Anthem / Happy Family
S.W.A.L.K. / Rockers Vibrations
1991 Best Sellers
1998 The Prime of Mikey Dread: Massive Dub Cuts from 1978–1992
2006 Best Sellers II
Dread at the Controls / Evolutionary Rockers


  • 1982 "Roots & Culture" / "Jungle Dread" (DATCD 008)
  • 1982 "Break Down the Walls" (DREAD 1)

Appears on[edit]

  • The Trojan Story Vol. 2 (1982; compilation album by various artists; TALL 200)
  • Singers and Players - Staggering Heights (1983; On-U Sound), "School Days"
  • Singers and Players - Leaps and Bounds (1984; Cherry Red), "Autobiography (Dread Operator)" and "Vegetable Matter"
  • Funky Reggae Crew - Strictly Hip-Hop Reggae Fusion (1989; compilation album by various artists; 926 011-1)
  • The Roots of Reggae Vol. 1 (1991; compilation album by various artists; MCCD 014)
  • Larks From the Ark (1995; compilation album by Lee "Scratch" Perry; NTMCD 511)
  • History of Trojan Records 1972-1995 Volume 2 (1996; compilation album by various artists)
  • Arkology (1997; compilation album by Lee "Scratch" Perry; CRNCD 6)
  • Rockers Galore (1999; compilation album by The Clash; ESK 47144)
  • Classic Reggae: The Producers (2000; compilation album by various artists; MCCD 444)
  • Dub Reggae Essentials (2000; compilation album by various artists)
  • Blunted in the Bomb Shelter Mix (2002; compilation album by Madlib; ANTCD102)
  • Auralux Reggae Showcase (2004; compilation album by various artists; LUXXCD007)
  • 50 First Dates (2004; compilation album by various artists)
  • Radio Clash (2004; compilation album by various artists)
  • Best 1991-2004 (2004; compilation album by Seal)
  • Echodelic Sounds of Future Pigeon (2006; album by Future Pigeon)
  • Singles Box (2006; compilation album by The Clash; Sony BMG)
  • Down in a Tenement Yard: Sufferation and Love in the Ghetto 1973-1980 (2007; compilation album by various artists; TJDDD352)
  • Family Front (2008; Album by Habakuk; 5935240)
  • Royale Rockers: Reggae Sessions (2008; album by Casino Royale)
  • Iration - Generation Time (Ft. Mikey Dread)


  1. ^ a b Lusk, Jon (2008-03-19). "Mikey Dread: Renaissance man of reggae". Obituaries. The Independent. Retrieved 2008-03-19. 
  2. ^ Pronounced as /ˈmki drɛd/
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "You’ve Paved The Way To Zion My Idren, Mikey Dread". FoundationSound.CO.UK. 2008-03-16. Archived from the original on 2008-03-31. Retrieved 2008-03-20. 
  4. ^ a b c "Mikey Dread - forever at the Control" (ASP). Lifestyle. The Jamaica Observer. 2008-03-17. Archived from the original on 2008-03-30. Retrieved 2008-03-20. 
  5. ^ Letts, Don; David Nobakht (2008) [2007-01-22]. Culture Clash: Dread Meets Punk Rockers (3rd ed.). London: SAF. ISBN 0-946719-99-3. OCLC 181422771. 
  6. ^ Letts, Don; Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Topper Headon, Terry Chimes, Rick Elgood, The Clash (2001). The Clash, Westway to the World (Documentary). New York, NY: Sony Music Entertainment; Dorismo; Uptown Films. Event occurs at 31:45–32:43. ISBN 0-7389-0082-6. OCLC 49798077. "The Dread meets the Punk rockers uptown Clash open the Roxy (Jan 1977)" 
  7. ^ "The Singles (CD version)". SONY BMG Music Entertainment Store. Retrieved 2008-03-19. 
  8. ^ "The Clash - Super Black Market Clash". Punknews.org. Retrieved 2008-03-19. 
  9. ^ a b Gilbert, Pat (2005) [2004]. "8-13, Epilogue, Discography, Bibliography". Passion Is a Fashion: The Real Story of The Clash (4th ed.). London: Aurum Press. pp. 321, 332, 362, 367, 373–388. ISBN 1-84513-113-4. OCLC 61177239. 
  10. ^ Clash, The; Joe Grushecky; Katrina Leskanich; Willie Nile; Ship & Pilot.; Soul Food (Musical group); Sunset Heroes (2004-09-21). The Sandinista! Project A Tribute to the Clash (Compact Disc). England: 00:02:59 Records. OCLC 178980813. 
  11. ^ "The Sandinista Project". sandinista.guterman.com. Retrieved 2008-03-19. 
  12. ^ "Cary Baker's conqueroo - The Sandinista! Project Announcements". conqueroo.com. Retrieved 2008-03-19. 
  13. ^ Walters, Basil (2007-10-28). "Not at the control: Mikey Dread has brain tumour" (ASP). Lifestyle. The Jamaica Observer. Archived from the original on 2008-02-11. Retrieved 2008-03-19. 
  14. ^ a b http://rateyourmusic.com/release/album/mikey_dread/african_anthem/
  15. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/r103523
  16. ^ http://rateyourmusic.com/release/album/mikey_dread/dread_at_the_controls/
  17. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/r106328
  18. ^ http://rateyourmusic.com/release/album/mikey_dread/world_war_iii/
  19. ^ a b http://www.allmusic.com/album/r106329
  20. ^ http://rateyourmusic.com/release/album/mikey_dread/beyond_world_war_iii/
  21. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/r103521
  22. ^ http://rateyourmusic.com/release/album/mikey_dread/dub_catalogue_volume_1/
  23. ^ http://rateyourmusic.com/release/album/mikey_dread/dub_merchant/
  24. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/r1099156
  25. ^ http://rateyourmusic.com/release/album/mikey_dread/jungle_signal/
  26. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/r1099155
  27. ^ http://rateyourmusic.com/release/album/mikey_dread/pave_the_way/
  28. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/r106331
  29. ^ http://rateyourmusic.com/release/album/mikey_dread/s_w_a_l_k_/
  30. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/r103519
  31. ^ http://rateyourmusic.com/release/album/mikey_dread/happy_family/
  32. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/r569910
  33. ^ http://rateyourmusic.com/release/album/mikey_dread/profile/
  34. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/r103518
  35. ^ http://rateyourmusic.com/release/album/mikey_dread/african_anthem_revisited/
  36. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/r103524
  37. ^ http://rateyourmusic.com/release/album/mikey_dread/obsession/
  38. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/r125281
  39. ^ http://rateyourmusic.com/release/album/mikey_dread/come_to_mikey_dreads_dub_party/
  40. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/r261838
  41. ^ http://rateyourmusic.com/release/album/mikey_dread/world_tour/
  42. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/r751318
  43. ^ http://rateyourmusic.com/release/album/mikey_dread/rasta_in_control/
  44. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/r622132
  45. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/r1358004
  46. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/r103522
  47. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/r103520
  48. ^ http://www.discogs.com/Mikey-Dread-SWALK-Rockers-Vibration/release/1318451
  49. ^ http://www.discogs.com/Mikey-Dread-Best-Sellers/master/190777
  50. ^ http://rateyourmusic.com/release/comp/mikey_dread/best_sellers_f1/
  51. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/r401129
  52. ^ http://www.discogs.com/Mikey-Dread-The-Prime-of-Mikey-Dread-Massive-Dub-Cuts-From-1978-1992/release/151625
  53. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/r1099152
  54. ^ http://rateyourmusic.com/release/comp/mikey_dread/best_sellers_ii/
  55. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/r1099153

External links[edit]