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Jamaican ska great Desmond Dekker dies at 64

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout' started by oomp, May 26, 2006.

  1. oomp

    oomp Contributing Member

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    LONDON (AP) - Desmond Dekker, who brought the sound of Jamaican ska music to the world with hits such as "Israelites," has died, his manager said Friday. He was 64.

    Dekker, who lived in England, collapsed from an apparent heart attack at his home on Thursday, manager Delroy Williams said. "It is such a shock, I don't think I will ever get over this," Williams said. Dekker's 1969 song "Israelites," a Top 10 single in both Britain and the United States, was the first international hit produced by Jamaica's vibrant music scene.

    With its haunting vocals and irresistible rhythm, it introduced the world to ska, a precursor to reggae.

    "Desmond was the first legend, believe it or not," Williams said. "When he released 'Israelites' nobody had heard of Bob Marley - he paved the way for all of them."

    Born Desmond Dacres in 1941, Dekker worked as a welder in Kingston before signing with Leslie Kong's Beverley's record label and releasing his first single, "Honor Your Father and Your Mother," in 1963. It was followed by Jamaican hits including "King of Ska."

    Some of his most popular songs celebrated the culture of violent street toughs, or "rude boys" - "Rude Boy Train," "Rudie Got Soul" and "007 (Shanty Town)," which featured on the soundtrack of the seminal Jamaican film "The Harder They Come."

    He also had a hit with "You Can Get It If You Really Want," written by his label-mate Jimmy Cliff.

    The songs made Dekker a hero of British youth, and he moved to the country in the 1970s.

    Dekker's career suffered after the 1971 death of his mentor Kong, and he was declared bankrupt in 1984. But he retained a strong British following until his death and performed regularly. Dekker had been due to play across Europe over the summer, including dates in Ireland, Switzerland and the Czech Republic.

    Dekker, who was divorced, is survived by a son and a daughter. Funeral details were not immediately available.



    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/5019954.stm

    Dekker was 'always magnificent'

    Broadcaster Mark Lamarr - the host of BBC Radio 2's Reggae Show - pays tribute to singer Desmond Dekker, who has died at the age of 64.

    I knew him pretty well and am shocked and saddened.

    It's just bizarre because of all the reggae artists, he was the one that did seem like he was going to go on forever - he was extremely fit.

    He did seem very youthful - I would never have guessed that he was 64.

    He has just always been around so I think people took him for granted, which I think is a shame.

    He is a very underrated songwriter - when you see him live there are just dozens and dozens of great songs.

    And the amount of energy he had made the shows - he was always a big ball of it.

    I saw him live dozens of times and he couldn't do a bad show.

    He was always magnificent, and there are very few artists that you can say that about.

    Superstar


    His shows were the ones I was evangelical about - when people were talking about reggae shows, I would say, "Desmond Dekker is the one you have got to see.'

    Apart from anything else, he probably was the first reggae superstar to have hits outside Jamaica in the US and UK.

    He was pretty meticulous - when he was on my reggae show once he insisted that we did it live, and it was one of the best shows that we had ever done.

    It really comes through in his work, that attention to detail.

    Everyone likes Israelites - it is the reggae song for people that don't like reggae.

    I defy anyone not to have a smile on their face when they hear it.

    Not that any artist needs more than Israelites, but I would say there are 40 to 50 Desmond Dekker songs that are indispensable in any reggae collection.

    I urge anyone to go and get a Desmond Dekker greatest hits and put it on, and they will be delighted.
     
  2. ico4498

    ico4498 Member
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    RIP my island brother.

    my favs ... Israelites, You can get it if you really want, Everybody join hands,
    Sugar Dumpling, Pickney gal, Pick up the Phone, 007, it mek ...

    the Ska King is dead, long live the Ska King!
     
  3. rockHEAD

    rockHEAD Contributing Member

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    Rest in peace Desmond... :(
     
  4. kpsta

    kpsta Contributing Member

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    :( :( :(


    *reaches for the CD case*

    :cool:
     
  5. jo mama

    jo mama Contributing Member

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    desmond decker is quality! i found out about him thru all those great trojan records box sets.

    bob marley is great, but theres so much more to jamaican music.

    desmond decker, augustus pablo, gregory isaacs, scratch perry, the upsetters, ect.
     
  6. ico4498

    ico4498 Member
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  7. oomp

    oomp Contributing Member

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    The "Tougher Than Tough" boxset is where I first understood how important he was to the big picture.

    Laurel Aitken, Derrick Morgan, & Willie Williams are great as well.
     
  8. MR. MEOWGI

    MR. MEOWGI Contributing Member

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    I have always loved early ska and reggae, but now I'm all into vintage calypso.
     
  9. ico4498

    ico4498 Member
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    add Toots & the Maytals. there are others worthy of mention, Jamaican music didn't start with reggae(reggay) and won't end with dancehall.

    Derrick Morgan is more Rock Steady/Reggae than Ska.
     

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