Noel Simms

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Birth name Noel Simms
Also known as Skully
Genres Ska
Occupation(s) Drummer & Singer
Instruments Percussion

Noel Simms (born 1935), often known by his nickname Scully, is a Jamaican ska, rocksteady and reggae percussionist and singer.


Born in the Smith Village area of Kingston in 1935 and educated at the Alpha Boys School, he initially worked as a singer in a duo with his schoolfriend Arthur "Bunny" Robinson, known as Simms & Robinson and later Bunny & Scully.[1] The duo won the Vere Johns talent contest two years running and were the first Jamaican artists to make R&B records on the island, starting with acetates for sound system use in 1953 (previous Jamaican-made singles were calypso).[1] They went on to release singles in the early 1960s for producer Clement "Coxsone" Dodd, with Simms also recording solo sides for Prince Buster, and as part of another duo, Simms & Elmond.[2][3] He was one of the first Jamaican musicians to use Amharic phrases in songs after learning them from Rasta leader Mortimer Planno, with tracks such as "Golden Pen" and "Press Along" in the early 1960s.[1]

As a percussionist he has performed as a member of several bands, including The Aggrovators,[4][5] The Upsetters,[5] The Revolutionaries, and Roots Radics,[1] and has recorded and performed with Big Youth, Peter Tosh (playing in the All-Star Band at the One Love Peace Concert),[4] Dillinger and The Heptones, playing on more than 200 albums between 1971 and 1985. He toured Europe with The Jamaica All Stars along with Justin Hinds, Johnny "Dizzy" Moore and Sparrow Martin.[6] He also played in a backing band for Jimmy Cliff. On recordings, he is credited under many different names, including: Noel "Scully" Simms, Noel "Skully" Simms, Scully, Scully Simms, Skullie, Skully, Skully Simms, Zoot "Scully" Simms, Mikey Spratt, Scollie, Zoot Sims and Skitter.

Despite losing his sight, he was still recording in the mid-2000s and writing songs including "Africa for the Africans".[7][8]


  1. ^ a b c d Katz, David (2003) Solid Foundation: An Oral History of Reggae, Bloomsbury, ISBN 0-7475-6847-2, p. 14, 15, 34, 321
  2. ^ Cooke, Mel (2004) "Studio One shows depth at Mas Camp", Jamaica Gleaner, 28 June 2004, retrieved 2010-07-20
  3. ^ Thompson, Dave (2002) Reggae & Caribbean Music, Backbeat Books, ISBN 0-87930-655-6, p. 334, 340, 348
  4. ^ a b Barrow, Steve & Dalton, Peter (2004) The Rough Guide to Reggae, 3rd edition, Rough Guides, ISBN 1-84353-329-4, p. 143, 153
  5. ^ a b Bradley, Lloyd (2000) This is Reggae Music, Grove Press, ISBN 0-8021-3824-4, p. 326, 349
  6. ^ "Johnny 'Dizzi' Moore dies at 70", Press Association, 17 August 2008 (reproduced at, retrieved 2010-07-20
  7. ^ Cooke, Mel (2005) "Five good minutes of 'Africa for the Africans'", Jamaica Gleaner, 21 December 2005, retrieved 2010-07-20
  8. ^ Wilson, Claude "Where are they now?", Jamaica Gleaner, retrieved 2010-07-20

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