King Stitt  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

King Stitt (born Winston Sparks; 17 September 1939 – 31 January 2012) was a Jamaican DJ.


King Stitt was the oldest living Jamaican deejay. Sparkes was given the nickname Stitt as a boy and decided to use it as his stage name, becoming King Stitt when he was crowned 'king of the deejays'. He began deejaying on Coxsone Dodd's Sir Coxsone's Downbeat Sound System in 1956 or 1957, influenced by American DJs heard on radio broadcasts from Miami and New Orleans. Count Machuki, the original Jamaican deejay, noticed him for his dancing and offered him to try his hand on the mic. Born with a facial malformation, King Stitt took advantage of it and called himself The Ugly One, in reference to the Sergio Leone western movie The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

His first record releases came from producer Clancy Eccles with classic deejay tracks like "Fire Corner", "Lee Van Cleef", "Herbman Shuffle", "Vigorton 2", and "Dance Beat". Upon the success of these releases, Sir Coxsone began to release his own recordings of Stitt on now scarce 7" singles. A full album was released by Coxsone entitled Dancehall '63 in the late 90's of Stitt deejaying over old-school rhythms like Owen Grey's "On the Beach". A full CD of hard to find 7" singles called Reggae Fire Beat was released on Jamaican Gold CD label.

King Stitt can be seen selecting & deejaying on the Soul Jazz DVD documentary of Studio One called The Studio One Story. Also, King Stitt was seen as recently as 2002's Legends of Ska concert series in Toronto, where he selected and deejayed before, after, and between sets. A documentary of the Legends of Ska concert series was made but not yet released.

Following a battle with prostate cancer, Stitt died at his home in Kingston on 31 January 2012. He is survived by a daughter.



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