Mr. Goddard, in
addition to being one of the great steelband arrangers of
our time, is responsible for composing and/or arranging some
of the most memorable and biggest songs from the Caribbean.
Pelham Goddard was born in Clarence Street in St.
James, Trinidad on December 12, 1946. The son of a
seaman and a school teacher, he attended St. Crispin's
EC school. His love affair with music began early, with
the first instrumental object of his affections being
the piano which he played at school. Pelham remembers
that 'when the rhythm got the better of him' and he
'beat' it out on the school benches, punishment followed
because of the noise he created.
On a 1959 trip back from Germany, his seaman father
brought back a piano to the Goddard household - and
Pelham never looked back. With the rhythm in his soul,
he had become very involved with the Tassa drumming for
the Hosay festival, but as he puts it "the day the piano
came, I made my choice, and started learning the piano".
Pelham's now-eighty-eight year old mother is a Graduate
of Trinity and Royal School of Music, and his late
father both read and played music by 'ear'. After a few
tips from his mother, he started to pick up notes from
songs then heard on the radio, some of which he says he
can still remember. Pelham's older brothers were already
into steelbands like Tripoli, Crossfire, Starlift and
Silver Stars, so music ran in the family, to say the
In 1967 he went on to play in bands like Pete de Vlaught
orchestra - where he met Earl Rodney who at the time was
with Solo Harmonites. He also played with combos like
The Clan, and The Flames.
Pelham's career in pan started one year later when he
went to 'hangout' in Starlift's pan yard one night with
his brother, and ended up playing a five bass. He got
'picked' for the National Panorama - no easy feat for a
first time pan player, and he realized then that his
talent was expanding - to the Steelpan.
His opportunity to try his hand at arranging for a brass
band came in 1972 when ace arranger Clive Bradley asked
Pelham to 'hold the fort' for him with Esquires Brass,
as Bradley had commitments 'up on the hill' with
Desperadoes Steel Orchestra. Pelham capitalized on the
opportunity, while at the same time going through an
arranging course at Berklee College of Music. Later that
year he toured St. Thomas with top calypsonians and
became a main figure in the recording studio arena.
National Lottery 3rd World Steel Orchestra was formed in
July of 1972 and they wanted Pelham to arrange for them,
which started off his then latest successful forage into
music - arranging for steelband. He put his mark on the
steelband's hits like Gold and American Patrol, and the
results sated on the charts for weeks, and also went
over well in North America.
The name Pelham Goddard can be found in numerous album
credits of musical heavyweights such as the late Ras
Shorty I (formerly known as Lord Shorty) - the
undisputed father of SOCA music (Pelham was involved in
the creation of the SOCA music art form), and other
calypso legends like Mighty Shadow, Mighty Sparrow,
Calypso Rose, Super Blue, Singing Francine and also
Charlie's Roots. In his years he has also combined his
talents with those of Ed Watson and the late Art de
In 1983 he arranged for Invaders Steel Orchestra, and
then again for Starlift Steel Orchestra in 1986. That
same year he arranged David Rudder's music, giving
Rudder the crown for every calypso competition he
entered. Pelham is the only musician in history whose
arrangements won thirteen 'Road Marches'. His talents as
a composer are well documented, especially for
selections that were played by other steelbands for
National Panoramas. The Hammer, Savannah Party, Happy
Song, Panama, Dedication, Play My Music, The Band Plays
On, The Unknown Band - all flowed from the musical pen
of Pelham Goddard. His synthesizer solo on 'Woman On The
Bass' is just a 'sample' of his synth work, being the
first musician to use the synthesizer in calypso music.
Despite his hectic work commitments, for the past ten
years Pelham has found time to found and run his own
recording studio called Agra 9 Production Studio, from
which he has produced the most songs written especially
for pan, among them winners like In My House, Picture On
The Wall, Fire and Steel and Freedom. edom.
Pelham Goddard continues to brew up a storm of hits and
arrangements in his studio, as resident arranger for
Exodus Steel Orchestra and abroad.
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“Festival Time” - composed by Pelham Goddard & 3 Canal
Provided with the express permission of the