Woyo! The real story behind Bob Marley’s “Buffalo Soldier” is coming to the silver screen, in a new documentary on the life and music of the song’s original writer, Noel G. Williams aka “King Sporty.” So says a new article in the Jamaica Observer.
From working with Robert Nesta in the smoke-filled Hialeah TK studios, to selling Henry Stone the publishing rights for the platinum selling Timmy Thomas record “Why Can’t We Live Together,” Sporty led an impactful and influential life in music.
He owned his own labels, where he wrote his own music, and registered all his own copyrights in his own name and publishing company, which also represented other songwriters, and bought and sold his and their works. These are key aspects of the music business that many fail to learn, let alone exploit. Sporty moved from Jamaica to Miami in the 1960s, loved soul, funk, and dance music, married Betty Wright, and set in motion several chains of events still unfurling through the public consciousness today.
Now, Canadian film director Noel Osborne, who has lived, worked, and recorded in Miami and is based in L.A., is bringing Sporty’s life back to light in a film called Irie The Film: Journey of a King.
According to a piece by Howard Campbell in the Jamaica Observer, the film features interviews with Betty Wright, Ken Boothe, Earl Morgan of The Heptones, Bunny Wailer, Sizzla, Albert Minott of the Jolly Boys, Inner Circle, and more.
Osborne knew Sporty for over twenty years, and was introduced to him by T.K. Records MVP, Fred Rector, who Henry Stone himself named as the best radio promoter ever to work his records.
In a 2013 interview, Stone said, “Fred Rector was my head of national promotions. He would take 10,000 records to the one-stop in Chicago, trade for cash, and then bring it to all the key DJ’s in the country. That’s how it was done. That’s how I took over national airplay on my independent records.”
With a resume like that, the movie is sure to be a smash. King Sporty truly was a king of music, and he looked up to Henry Stone as one too. Make sure to stay tuned on information about the film’s release and where YOU can see it.