Theophilus Beckford (1935 – 19 February 2001) was a Jamaican pianist and one of the pioneers of Jamaican popular music during the transition from Rhythm 'n' Blues to Jamaican Ska.
Beckford was born in 1935 in Trench Town, Kingston, Jamaica, the second of three sons. He learned to play piano at the Boys' Town home for indigent boys in west Kingston, initially inspired by Rosco Gordon and Fats Domino, and on leaving bought a piano and began working with producer Stanley Motta, backing local calypsonians. His piano playing helped to define the sound and feel of ska music, as distinct from Jamaican rhythm & blues in the late 1950s. He had a huge hit in 1959 with "Easy Snappin", recorded in 1956 and played at dances by producer Coxsone Dodd before he released it three years later on his Worldisc label. The single was a number one in Jamaica and stayed on the chart for eighteen months, also selling well in the United Kingdom, and the emphasis on the off-beat was widely imitated. The song is considered a forerunner of ska. Although Beckford was credited as the writer, he received no royalties from the song. A second hit followed with "Jack & Jill Shuffle", and a few more singles were recorded for Dodd before Beckford formed his own King Pioneer label in the early 1960s.