I’ve been meaning to post about Sugar Simone for a while. Love this guy.
Born in Jamaica, Keith “Sugar” Simone rose to local prominence as a gospel singer and left for Britain in ‘61 to further his schooling. He then worked as an engineer while singing on the side, juggling both worlds until 1963 where he auditioned at Old Planetone Studios. Here, he met Alan Crawford, a radio exec who signed Simone to Carnival Records. After cutting a half-dozen singles for Carnival, Simone signed to Island Records where he recorded some of his most well known works as Sugar Simone (he would also record under the name Tito Simon, but those are forgettable).
Simone was always more popular oversees than in the states, touring Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Switzerland until the ‘70s. As far as I know, he only cut one LP as Sugar Simone (Alive & Well, kinda lackluster, shown above), profited slightly off a handful of dope 45s, and later signed to Beacon Records where he made more singles and released a few LPs as Tito Simon. But his late ‘60s singles are the most sugary. Here are his best 3 songs:
1) His first and most famous single, “King Without A Throne”, for Island Records in 1967. Notice the jacked “Stand By Me” bassline. HEAR IT
2) “Take It Easy”, another nice late ‘60s cut—rhythm, horns, and nice vocals. Super sweet, no saccharin. HEAR IT
3) “I Want To Know”, a crazy slick 45 Simone did for Trojan. HEAR IT