||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (April 2009)|
Willi Williams performing at the 2007 Winnipeg Ska and Reggae Festival
|Born||Saint Ann Parish, Jamaica|
|Labels||Studio One, Soul Sounds, Heartbeat, Black Star, Jah Shaka, Drum Street|
Willi Williams (also Willie Williams) is a Jamaican reggae and dub musician and producer. He is known as the "Armagideon Man" after his hit, "Armagideon Time", first recorded in 1978 at Studio One in Kingston. The song was covered by The Clash as the flipside of their "London Calling" single.
Williams was born in Saint Ann Parish, Jamaica. He attended Trenchtown Comprehensive High School, where he was a classmate of Sly Dunbar. He first recorded at Studio One in the late 1960s, while he was still in school. In 1969 he started his own record label called Soul Sounds and among the artists he recorded was Delroy Wilson, The Versatiles, and Rhythm Force (a pseudonym for The Wailers). He moved to Canada in 1974 and split his time between Toronto, Ontario and Kingston.
He worked with keyboardist Jackie Mittoo and producer Coxsone Dodd on "Armagideon Time", which was the title track of an album Studio One released in 1980, and recorded over the Real Rock riddim. The song was later covered by The Clash, featured in the film Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai and on the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas soundtrack (is featured on the Reggae radio station K-JAH Radio West but not on the soundtrack album). "Armagideon Time" is included on the four CD anthology Tougher Than Tough: The Story of Jamaican Music, which Mango Records released in 1993.
Catalog titles by Williams include Armagideon Time (Heartbeat/Studio One), Thanks and Devotion (Drum Street), Jah Will (Drum Street), Messenger Man (Jet Star/Drum Street), Unity (Drum Street), Thanks & Devotion (Drum Street), See Me (Jah Shaka), Natty With A Cause (Jah Shaka), From Studio One To Drum Street (M10), From Studio One to Drum Street Volume II (Drum Street), and Di Real Rock (Drum Street).
In 2007, the rock band Government Mule adapted and recorded Williams' composition "Natty With A Cause" as "Rebel With A Cause", which features Williams' voice along with that of Government Mule singer Warren Haynes.
As of 2007[update], Willi was working on an album with an up-and-coming Toronto artist named Visionary.
The reggae-punk band Sublime used some lyrics from the song Armagideon Time as well as the bass line for the song Sweet Little Rosie.
In 2013 he released the album Reggae Can't Done.
On 14 August 2014, Shanachie Records announced their plans to release a Willi Williams/Yabby You project titled Unification: From Channel One To King Tubbys With Willi Williams And Yabby You, which includes tracks recorded in the late 1970s and never released. According to label chief Randall Grass, the album was recorded between 1978 and 1980 at both Channel One Studios and King Tubby's studio, utilizing musicians including Sly and Robbie and the Revolutionaries, Soul Syndicate, The Gladiators, Jackie Mittoo, Bobby Ellis, Cedric Brooks and Bobby Kalphat.
- Armagideon Time (1978, Coxsone)
- Messenger Man (1980, Drum Street)
- Unity (1987, Black Star)
- Natty With A Cause (1992, Jah Shaka)
- See Me (1994, Jah Shaka)
- Jah Will (1995, Drum Street)
- Thanks & Devotion (1999, Drum Street)
- Full Time Love (2002, Drum Street)
- Reggae Can't Done (2013)
- Walters, Basil (2013) "Stepping Out with Willie Williams, YAHBA", Jamaica Observer, 9 June 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2013
- "Long lost Willi Williams, Yabby You LP set for September 30 release by Shanachie". Midnight Raver. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
- "From Studio One To Drum Street: The Soul Sounds of Willi Williams", by Carter Van Pelt, 2003, Columbia University.