Ska star Jimmy James is inducted to Portsmouth Guildhall’s Wall of Fame

Soul singer Jimmy James being inducted in Portsmouth Guildhall's Wall of Fame
Soul singer Jimmy James being inducted in Portsmouth Guildhall's Wall of Fame
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VETERAN soul and ska star Jimmy James has become the latest act to be inducted into Portsmouth Guildhall’s Wall of Fame in recognition of his contribution to the music industry.

Portsmouth has a special place in the heart of the Jamaican-born singer.

Jimmy and his ska band, The Vagabonds, first appeared at the city’s legendary Birdcage Club in June 1965. Following the club’s relocation to Eastney, the band played there a further 29 times in just two years.

His hits include Come to Me Softly and I’ll Go Where the Music Takes Me, and he still tours the UK today.

Among those at the induction were Cilla Gilmore, of Southsea, who featured the crowd scene on the cover of The Vagabonds’ first LP, when she was just 15.

Looking back on the cover Cilla recalled: As a pupil at the local Convent School at the time, The Birdcage was strictly out of bounds to me and my friends so when an article featuring the LP cover appeared in The News, I had to cut it out before my parents could see it!’

Speaking earlier this week on Express FM’s Soft Rock Show with Geoff Dorsett and Adrian Collis, Jimmy spoke of his delight at being inducted and his wish to ‘dedicate the award to all the people of Portsmouth who have been so instrumental in my career.’

The Wall of Fame was introduced in 2014 to honour artists who have achieved great success, including The Osmonds, Genesis’ Steve Hackett; Mark King of Level 42; Foreigners’ Mick Jones; musical director and keyboard player for Queen, Spike Edney,; The Godfather of British Blues, John Mayall; Manfred Mann’s Paul Jones; Simon Dupree and The Big Sound and Gentle Giant; Joe Jackson and Portsmouth-born singer-songwriter Julia Fordham.