Saturday, 11 October 2008

Alton Ellis R.I.P.

Alton Ellis (born 1944 in Kingston, Jamaica) was one of the musical legend of the Caribbean island. He began his career in 1959 recording for Coxone Dodd at Studio One and later also for Dodd's rival Duke Reid. By the mid '60s the ska rhythm began to slow down to rocksteady and Ellis's "Mr. Soul of Jamaica" was regarded as one of the definitive rocksteady albums. His song "Get Ready - Rocksteady" was the first song to refer to the name of the new genre.

During the late '60s and early 70s Ellis recorded for some of the Jamaica's top producers, making several hits like "Deliver Us" and "Back to Africa", which reflected the philosophy of the rising rasta culture.

After touring around the world, from 1972 he based himself in the UK, keeping on recording and performing regularly. He made triumhant returns in Jamaica at the Reggae Sunsplash festival in '83 and '85 and in 2006 he was inducted into the International Reggae and World Music Awards Hall of Fame.

But his health began to deteriorate and in December 2007 he was admitted to hospital in London for treatment of cancer of the lymph glands.

He returned to live performances after chemoterapy, but got a collapse during a show in London in August.

He died on Wednesday October 8 at Hammersmith Hospital, West London.

Another shining star of the Jamaican music has gone...
(thanks Maurizio)