Personal Tribute from FJN
This was a close personal friend of my dad and my husband is this man's biggest fan, Dennis Brown's music can be heard every Sunday from my basement. However, having done the research for this piece. I must admit that I have developed new respect and admiration for this artist and i too have become one of his most devoted fans. Rest in piece Crown Prince of Reggae, Honorable Dennis Brown.
Dennis Brown was born on 1 February 1957 at Jubilee Hospital in Kingston, Jamaica. His father Arthur was a scriptwriter, actor, and journalist, and he grew up in a large tenement yard between North Street and King Street in Kingston with his parents, three elder brothers and a sister. His mother died in the 1960's. Hailed as a child prodigy and called the "Michael Jackson of Reggae," Brown was just 12 years old when he recorded his first album, No Man is an Island, which included the hit single of the same name.
Brown's first professional appearance came at the age of eleven, when he visited a local club where his brother Basil was performing a comedy routine, on the strength of this performance he was asked to join the Fabulous Falcons as a featured vocalist. When the group performed at a JLP conference at the National Arena, Brown sang two songs - Desmond Dekker's "Unity" and Johnnie Taylor's "Ain't That Loving You" - the audience showered the stage with money. Bandleader Byron Lee performed on the same bill, and was sufficiently impressed with Brown to book him to perform on package shows featuring visiting US artists, where he was billed as the "Boy Wonder". In 1968, He had caught the attention of Studio One sound system operator Clement "Coxsone" Dodd, and soon began recording at the studio, where Bob Marley had carved out his sound several years before. During an amazing two-day session, Brown recorded two albums: No Man Is an Island and If I Follow My Heart. Brown went on to record nearly 80 albums over his 30-year career.
In 1971, Brown released Super Reggae & Soul Hits, which featured a more mature sound and pushed Brown to stardom. His silky, smooth voice endeared him to listeners and record executives, and as his stature grew, so did the demands from record producers who wanted to tap into his success. Over his nearly 30-year career, Brown churned out 80 albums for some 40 different recording labels. His hits include "Some Like It Hot," "Cassandra," "Westbound Train," "My Time," "How Could I Leave" and "Ghetto Girl."
His 1972 single, "In My Pocket," landed among the U.K.'s Top 10. Brown was nominated for a Grammy Award for the album Light My Fire in 1994. Even during the final year of his life, Brown released three records, and had been working on a fourth when he passed. In an interview with National Public Radio, Damien Marley, Bob Marley's son, spoke about Dennis Brown's legacy: "He was one of those persons who made it cool to smile in reggae music. When I listen to his music, I can hear that he really loved singing. It almost sounds like he smiles while he's singing."
o Dennis Brown was an inspiration and influence for many reggae singers from the late 1970s through to the 2000s, including Barrington Levy, Junior Reid, Frankie Paul, Luciano, Bushman, and Richie Stephens.
o In July 1999, a group of UK-based musicians and more than fifty vocalists working under the collective name The British Reggae All Stars recorded "Tribute Song", a medley of six of Brown's best-known songs, in memory of Brown.
o He was honored on the first anniversary of his death by a memorial concert in Brooklyn, which featured performances from Johnny Osbourne, Micky Jarrett, Delano Tucker, and Half Pint.
o In 2001, a charitable trust was set up in Brown's name. The Dennis Emanuel Brown Trust works to educate youngsters, maintain and advance the memory of Dennis Brown, and help to provide youngsters with musical instruments. The trust awards the Dennis Emanuel Brown (DEB) bursary for educational achievement each year to students between the ages of 10 and 12 years.
o In 2005, George Nooks, who had worked with Brown in the mid-1970s in his deejay guise as Prince Mohamed, released an album of Brown covers, George Nooks Sings Dennis Brown:The Voice Lives On, with Nooks stating: "I was always inspired by his talent and I used to sing like him. Dennis had a whole heap of influence on me. To me he was the greatest. He was my number one singer.”
o In the same year, Gregory Isaacs paid a similar tribute with the album Gregory Isaacs Sings Dennis Brown.
o In February 2007, a series of events were staged in Jamaica in celebration of the lives of both Brown and Marley (both would have had birthdays that month).
o In 2008, the Dennis Brown Trust announced a new internet radio station, dedicated solely to the music of Dennis Brown, and in the same month a tribute concert was staged by the Jamaican Association of Vintage Artistes and Affiliates (JAVAA) featuring Dwight Pinkney, Derrick Harriott, Sugar Minott, George Nooks, and John Holt.
o Songs about or dedicated to Brown include "Song for Dennis Brown" by The Mountain Goats, "If This World Were Mine" by Slightly Stoopid, "Drive" by Pepper (band), and Whitney Houston's "Whitney Houston Dub Plate" on The Ecleftic: 2 Sides II a Book album by Wyclef Jean.
o On 26 April 2010, Brown was featured on NPR Morning Edition news program as one of the "50 Great Voices - The stories of awe-inspiring voices from around the world and across time". The NPR "50 Great Voices" list includes Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Mahalia Jackson and Jackie Wilson among others.
o On 6 August 2011, being the 49th anniversary of the country's independence, the Governor-General of Jamaica posthumously conferred the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander (CD) upon Brown, for his contribution to the Jamaican music industry.
o In April 2012, a commemorative blue plaque was placed on Brown's home in Harlesden