The Twinkle Brothers were formed in the early 60’s in Falmouth, Trelawney, Jamaica. Their first success was when they won the Trelawney Mento Festival in 1962. For six consecutive years they won at their parish level. In 1968 they won two gold medals in the all island competition; Norman Grant for best solo and the Twinkle Brothers for best group.
Norman said about these years “We won at our parish level from ’62 right up on to ’68 we won two gold medals. In the all island. I won as a solo artist and also as a group, as Twinkle Brothers. So there was two gold medals in yunno the whole Island. In ’69 we won again and in 1970 we took part in the festival song contest. It was like Toots & Maytals »What a Bam Bam«. Desmond Dekker and the Aces. We came third that year. »Boom Shacka Lacka« won. Hopeton Lewis. But yunno, as I say. Within the whole things was also like election. With the festival song It was politics. Where you from? From when we did the shows everybody love us. But when we came to the voting it was political. But it was still good for us because we made our name now. Proving that we where in a different style and category of our own. (from an interview with Norman Grant done by Joakim Kalcidis the 26th of July, 2006.)
In 1970 the Twinkle Brothers started recording for Bunny Lee and released a couple of acclaimed singles, the first being the festival song »You Can Do It Too«. They did approximately 14 tracks for Bunny Lee with songs such as »Not Who You Know«, »Miss Labba Labba«, »Sweet Young Thing Like You«, »Best Is Yet To Come« and Normans solo effort »Miss World«. Bunny Lee also helped the Twinkle Brothers in getting a session with Lee »Scratch« Perry for whom they did a couple of tracks of which only one got released, »Reggae For Days«.
During the years 1973 and 1974 they worked with Phil Pratt doing the songs »Friends«, »No Big Thing« and »Do You Own Thing«. In 1975 their debut album, »Rasta Pon Top«, was released and shortly after in ’75 Norman Grant joined the Sonny Bradshaw Band (with Dean Fraser) in a tour to Guatemala, Mexico.
It was also in the mid 70’s that Norman Grant opened up his record store in Falmouth.
By 1976 their second album, »Do Your Own Thing« (also got released in 1977 as »Miss Labba Labba«) was released. It further showed the roots Norman Grants vocals had in soul music. The following year they got signed to Virgin Frontline and released the album »Love«. The odd choice of releasing it as a 10″ LP raised quite a few peoples eye brows in the record stores but it soon got released as a 12″ release with a couple of more songs added to the playlist, but now on Normans own Twinkle imprint. The second album on Virgin Frontline was »Praise Jah« (1979). Shortly after this the Twinkle Brothers, the Gladiators and U-Roy got transfered to Virgin Records as Frontline got terminated. They released the album »Countrymen« in 1980. It was their last release with Virgin.
After the Twinkle Brothers got dropped by Virgin Frontline (that had by now decimated their reggae output tremendously) Norman Grant focused mainly releasing music on his own Twinkle label that now had moved its headquarters to the UK.
In 1980 when Jacob Miller passed away Norman Grant joined Inner Circle upon arriving from an American tour. He toured with Inner Circle for a short while but no recordings where done with Norman on the vocals. He was soon back with the Twinkle Brothers.
The late 70’s also saw Norman Grant working together with Jah Shaka, cutting dubplates for him and soon also releasing proper records. They released two albums with Jah Shaka the first one being »The Right Way« (1984) and the second one being »Rasta Surface« (1991). The album »Underground« (1982) also featured productions by Jah Shaka. It was the Twinkle Riddim Section that backed Shaka on his recording »Revelation 18«.
In 1986 the Twinkle Brothers went to Poland where they recorded material with the folk group Trebunia Tutki. Out of the recordings from that period the album »Higher Heights« (1988) was released. The album was a major success on the world music charts and was several weeks at the number one spot on the list. Some more albums, both vocal and dub counterparts, followed from the polish sessions.
The Twinkle brothers has to date released over 60 albums, the last two being »Give the Sufferer A Chance« and »The Youthful Warrior«.