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Ernie Smith has made an indelible mark on Jamaican music with Reggae classics “Bend Down,” “Ride On Sammy,” “One Dream,” “Pitta Patta,” and “Duppy Gunman.” In 1972, he beat songwriters Neil Sedaka and Michael Legrand, to win the Grand Prize at the World Popular Song Festival in Tokyo, and became the first Jamaican musician to win an international music award.
Ernie also became the first musician to be honored by the Jamaican Government with the Badge of Honor for meritorious service in the field of popular music. Despite his national honors, in 1976, Ernie was forced to take refuge in North America because of the controversial political commentary in his song, "As We Fight One Another For The Power And The Glory, The Kingdom Goes To Waste.” Ironically, the once-banned song eventually became the 'battle song' for Jamaican talk shows and community activists.
Since the beginning of his career in the late 1960s, Ernie has penned over 200 songs, several of which have been recorded by other artists, including Goldie Hawn, Johnny Nash, Rita Marley, Chakka Demus & Pliers, Sanchez, Twiggy, Eddie Lovett, Yellowman, famed gospel group Grace Thrillers and others. Ernie has hit many of the world’s greatest stages including repeat performances at New York City’s iconic Madison Square Garden. Returning to Jamaica in 1988, he reclaimed his place in the music industry with a succession of singles in the 1990s. His anthology After 30 Years: Life is Just for Living was published in 1997. His latest album Country Mile was released in 2009 and features popular IRIE FM radio DJ Ron Machete, and veteran performer Pluto Shervington.