Superblue turns 64
Trinidadian calypsonian, soca musician, icon and lyricist Austin Lyons, renowned as Superblue, Super Blue and Blueboy, turned 64 on May 25.
Born on May 25, 1956 in Point Fortin, Trinidad and Tobago, to a Grenadian mother and Trinidadian father, Superblue became famous from his first foray into the calypso tent world in 1980 with “Soca Baptist,” a song he penned in 1979, according to his biography.
“Soca Baptist” also won Superblue his first Carnival Road March Monarch in 1980, while giving him the biggest win at that time — “though the magnitude of that win would be dwarfed by his own subsequent landslide victories,” the biography says.
It says Supeblue went on to win the annual Carnival Road March title nine times (in 1980, 1981 and 1983 he won under the moniker Blue Boy, and as Superblue in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 2000 and 2013) and the Trinidad Soca Monarch (now the International Soca Monarch) title a record seven times.
The biography says that Superblue is famous for wearing blue costumes and dancing on top of speaker boxes.
“He developed a reputation for performing daring antics while on stage for the Soca Monarch competitions,” it says.
Superblue’s daughter, Fay-Ann Lyons, whose mother is calypsonian Lady Gypsy, is herself a well-known soca musician (composer and performer), who has already, at a young age ,won three Road March Monarch titles (2003, 2008 and 2009) and who performs at both local and foreign carnival events, according to the biography.
It says Superblue recorded the song “Clear de Road” with Fay-Ann and that they performed it together for the International Soca Monarch competition in 2004. They did not place in the top ten, however.
Since his Soca Monarch win in 2000, the biography says Superblue “remained out of the winners’ circle musically until 2011 when he received the SAO Hall of Fame Award for his body of work.
“He continues to record music, and his earlier songs are still held to be classic soca compositions, used in Panorama competitions even in recent times,” the biography says.
It says Superblue made “a triumphant return” to the Soca Monarch stage in 2013 with his song “Fantastic Friday”, capturing the International Power Soca Monarch title in a tie with the defending champion, Machel Montano.
The biography says SuperBlue is hailed as “the originator of the ‘jump and wave’ style of soca songs” and is also “credited by the benefactor of the International Soca Monarch, William Munro, to have played a major role in the success of that competition in the early years.”
The song “Barbara” by Superblue was played as background music in the movie Side Streets (1998), the biography says.
It says SuperBlue “sealed his triumphant return” to the soca scene in 2013 by also winning the Road March Title in addition to tying for 1st place in the International Soca Monarch with Machel Montano.
His winning song “Fantastic Friday” was played over 500 times on Carnival Monday and Tuesday, beating his main opponent, Machel Montano (who got less than 60 plays), by over 400 plays, the biography says.
Over the years, Superblue has had a number of firsts: First calypsonian to ever perform at Wembley Convention Centre in London; first Soca Monarch winner; his performances of “Bacchanal Time” and “Birthday Party” appeared on the first worldwide broadcast of Trinidad and Tobago Carnival, via CNN; first double -inner of Soca Monarch and Road March in the same year with “Bacchanal Time” in 1993; and the only calypsonian to appear on Sesame Street.
Superblue’s discography comprises, among others: “10th Anniversary” (Vinyl); “Happy Carnival” (1995); “Flag Party” (1994); “Bacchanal Time” (1993); “Soca Matrix” (2009); “Extreme Blue” (2009) and “Joy” (2011).
Trinidad and Tobago Newsday reported on Feb. 21 that Terri Lyons, Superblue’s daughter, was crowned the new 2020 Calypso Monarch, becoming only the fifth woman to win the prized Carnival crown.
“Lyons’ performances of ‘Meghan My Dear’ and ‘Obeah’ set her above the field of 12 finalists, dethroning last year’s monarch Renaldo London,” said Newsday, stating that she joins Calypso Rose (McCartha Lewis), Singing Sandra (Sandra DesVignes-Millington), Denyse Plummer and Karene Asche in “the history books of women monarchs.”
Newsday said that Lyons “descends from Carnival royalty as she is the daughter soca icon, Austin ‘Super Blue’ Lyons, and sister of Fay Ann Lyons-Alvarez.”
Super Blue is a 10-time Road March winner, and Lyons-Alvarez is also a record-breaker as the only woman to win both the Power and Groovy Soca monarch titles of the International Soca Monarch competition, Newsday said.
“She also only the third woman to win the Road March after Calypso Rose and Sanell Dempster,” it said.
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