One of the innovators of rocksteady who was given the informal title "Godfather of Rocksteady". Born Alton Nehemiah Ellis in TrenchtownKingstonJamaica, Ellis was raised within a musical family which included his older brothers Leslie [who performed as one of his back up singers and co-wrote some of his songs], and Irving [known as 'Niney'] who was a popular singer and steel pan player on Jamaica's North Coast.
He learned to play the piano at On A Journey (I Sing The Funk Electric) - Various - Rare Preludes Volume One young age. The duo Johnny Future - Volume 4: Out On Perfect World after Parkins won a major talent contest and moved to the United States.
Ellis continued to work for Dodd and also recorded for his arch-rival, Duke Reid on his Treasure Isle label. By the mids, ska was moving on and the beat was slowing down to rocksteady and becoming associated with the violent rude boy subculture in Jamaican dancehalls.
Many artists made records referring to the rude boys, including Ellis, although his records were consistently anti-rudie, including "Don't Trouble People", "Dance Crasher", and "Cry Tough". The release of "Rock Steady" backed by Tommy McCook and the Supersonics, the first song to refer to the name of the new genre, heralded the new Alton Ellis - Soul Medly Jamaican popular music was taking. Ellis regularly returned to England, working with several London-based producers and after spending a few years in Canada, from he based himself permanently in the UK.
Ellis continued to be active on the reggae scene until his health began to deteriorate. InEllis was awarded the Order of Distinction by the Jamaican government in recognition of his achievements. In Decemberhe was admitted to hospital in London for treatment of cancer of the lymph glands Hodgkins diseasebut he returned to live performance after receiving chemotherapy.
Ellis died of cancer on 10 October at Hammersmith HospitalLondon. He was the older brother of the late Hortense Ellisand the father of more than twenty children including Noel Ellis and Christopher Ellis, who are both reggae singers.
The "Mad Mad" riddim the track "Mad Mad" by Alton Ellis and the Sound Dimension band was released in on the Coxsone label has been reused or sampled by many hip-hop, dancehall and reggae producers and artists. The recognizable three-note descending horn line was Alton Ellis - Soul Medly by Alton Ellis - Soul Medly "Junjo" Lawesand eventually became known as the "Diseases" reggae riddim.
This constant reinterpretation and referencing has made Ellis a major but little-known influence in the trajectory of dancehall, reggae and hip hop. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Alton Ellis. Retrieved 26 May Interview Muisto - Olavi Virta - 28 Ikivihreää Charley Organaire". Jamaica Observer. Archived from the original on 18 December Retrieved 26 December BBC News.
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