Roy & Yvonne
In the early 60s in Jamaica. there were many musical duos, mostly singing love ballads. There was Keith & Enid in 1960, Alton & Eddie and Derrick & Patsy in 1961, Ruddy & Skeeter and Derrick & Yvonne in 1962 and Stranger & Patsy in 1963. But perhaps the greatest paring of them all was Roy Panton. He had started recording in the late 50s but it was not until 1961 that he enjoyed his first hit.
“I am Roy Panton. I was born in the parish of Kingston, Jamaica W. I. on March 28, 1941. I started singing at an early age, while I was in school. Singing was special to me as I enjoyed having an audience. After school, I decided that that was the root of my dreams and so I took it steps further. I teamed up with Stranger Cole to form a group called The Rovers and in the later years of the 50s, we auditioned for the famous Duke Reid. Our first song was called “Freedom Land” and the b side was “Adam and Eve”.
After our first recording, the group dissolved. Later on, I teamed up with Monty Morris and we were called Monty & Roy. We recorded for Leslie Kong of the Beverlys label. The recording consisted of two songs: “Shes Mine”, and the other side of the single was “Girl Of My Dream”. We then went on to record for Duke Reid on the Trojan Label and for him We recorded approximately four songs. After a short stint with Duke Reid, we moved to the Sir Coxsone DownBeat label and one of the songs we did for him was entitled “Jenny”. I met Millie Small at Coxsones and he suggested that we should form a duet; hence the name Roy & Millie, and it was that duet which produced the hit song of 1962 called Well Meet”(the fifth release on the early Island label).
We did quite a number of recordings and shows together but, during that time, Millie met Chris Blackwell and migrated to the United Kingdom. After Millie left for England, I went solo for a while and then I teamed up with Yvonne Harrison and became Roy & Yvonne. Our first hit song was called “Two Roads Before You” and the flip side was “Join Together”. We continued recording together for several producers. We were on the All Island Tour, along with other artists, with the Byron Lee band and we were the opening acts for many of the foreign artists of the time like Ray Charles, Ben E. King, Patty Labelle, Jackie Wilson, The Drifters, Doris Troy, to name but a few.
In 1964, we were fortunate to perform with some of the top local artists on the first televised show in Jamaica, at the Sombrero Club in Kingston. Soon after that performance, I became the vocalist and MC for Tommy McCook and the Supersonics. The following year I emigrated to the United States, worked for a couple of years but returned home to Jamaica, At this time I continued to sing, this time as the vocalist for the band called The Diamonds. In 1972 I emigrated to Canada and I am currently residing in Toronto.”