Recalling Johnny Golding's Swing magazine


Recalling Johnny Golding's Swing magazine

Observer senior writer

Tuesday, May 05, 2020

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The recent death of Johnny Golding revived memories of a thriving family business which included Swing magazine, a monthly publication that covered the entertainment and sports scene for almost a decade.

Golding died April 26 at age 83 in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, where the Twelve Tribes of Israel member had lived for 15 years. One of the early contributors at Swing was Raymond Arthur Julian Reynolds, better known as Julian Jingles.

“Johnny was a leader and visionary, and a champion of pan-Africanist thinking. He was also the ultimate swinger and started two nightclubs, Bohemia [on Molynes Road] and Akara, promoting Jamaican music. The famous in Jamaican entertainment were numbered among his friends — people like Carlos Malcolm, Coxson Dodd and Byron Lee,” Jingles recalled in an interview with the Jamaica Observer.

He added that Golding “was a master printer, his father being the founder/owner of Golding Printing Service. I got into Johnny's orbit in the late 1960s and was one of the early writers with Swing. The magazine attracted the top entertainment and sports writers of the day, the likes of G Fitz Bartley, Eric 'Macko' McNeish, Tony Laing, and other top journalists like Ben Brodie, Jean Fairweather, Alafia Samuels, and budding writers Norma Hamilton, and Mutabaruka, among others”.

Because his substantive job was with the Gleaner newspaper, Jingles wrote for Swing as Ray Upendo. Along with Golding's younger brother, Winston “Doo Dah” Golding, he also covered sports, particularly football and horse racing.

Winston Golding, who lives in Kingston, counts cover stories on Bob Marley and Dennis Brown as the biggest-selling issues. His music chart also contributed to the magazine's popularity.

According to Jingles, “Two of the biggest stories I did for Swing [were] on the Blake brothers of Merritone fame, and the intention of Locksley Comrie and Winston Chung Fah as leaders of the Jamaica Football Association to set up a semi-pro football league in Jamaica.”

Johnny was eldest of four brothers born to John senior and his wife. All attended Kingston College; George was involved in the music business as a manager and producer while Steve was founding member of the Fabulous Five Band and also toured as a guitarist with Peter Tosh and Israel Vibration.

Winston Golding is uncertain about the year Swing went out of business, but its catalogue is available at the National Library of Jamaica.

Just before Jingles migrated to the United States in the early 1970s, Johnny Golding appointed him managing editor of the magazine. He went on to produce documentaries on the controversial Gun Court in Kingston and Jamaican music.

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