Entertainment

Sharing great Memories with Bob Clarke

By Richard Johnson
Observer senior reporter
johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Print this page Email A Friend!


FOR many Jamaicans, the name Walter Charles Clarke bears no significance. But say “Bob Clarke” and descriptions of a smooth-talking radio jock with a love for Jamaican vintage music come flooding.

Clarke, who hosts Memories Sundays on Irie FM, will be honoured by the Jamaican government with the Order of Distinction in the rank of Officer (OD) at King's House on October 15, National Heroes Day. He is being recognised for his service to the entertainment industry, especially broadcasting.

For as far as he can remember, Clarke has had an affinity for music. He recalled his early days in Highgate, St Mary, when his sister's father, Lloyd Howell, owned a sound system.

“They just could not get me away from the music. I remember one night... I couldn't be more than six or seven years-old, our mother left us with someone and I bribed him with sardine and bread from the shop that we owned and left the house to take in music being played nearby. In later years, I also got involved in a little band started by (guitarist) Bobby Aitken,” Clarke told the Jamaica Observer.

Things really got serious in the 1960s and 1970s when Clarke moved to Kingston. He was living in Harbour View at the time but made the trek across town to spend his days in Trench Town — the cradle of Jamaican popular music. There, he rubbed shoulders with some of the music's brightest stars: Alton Ellis, Ken Boothe and The Maytals.

His work in music and entertainment would ultimately bring him to radio and thus began a decades-long association on the airwaves.

“I had the opportunity to mweet Glynnis Salmon at Radio North East in Ocho Rios and she thought I had something to offer radio. I would do some stuff for her and then had the opportunity to produce a show called Memory Beat on the station,” Clarke recalled. “This programme was hosted by Judith McLaughlin and when she left I took over the reins, and thus began my life in broadcasting. This was the late 1980s.”

Radio North East was a regional station operated by the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation. It was later privatised and through the persistence of Clarke and Clyde McKenzie, Karl Young acquired the station which would become Irie FM.

Since 1990, Clarke has hosted Memories.

“We really wanted Winston Blake for the show but he declined so I took it up and have been (host) ever since. Oldies is my forte, but I listen to everybody. I am that kind of sift, so I don't absorb everyone. I know what I want to hear and then there are those that I really don't care for. I love music that makes sense. I get drawn into a great storyline so once you are not going anywhere then I tune out,” he explained.

Regarding the OD, Clarke stated that he was “shocked” by the announcement.

“When it's something that you are not really working towards then you don't expect it to be thrown upon you. But it's a great honour and something I accept with humility,” he said.

ADVERTISEMENT




POST A COMMENT

HOUSE RULES

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy



comments powered by Disqus
ADVERTISEMENT

Poll

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
ADVERTISEMENT