The Crown Prince of Reggae has passed away...

DENNIS BROWN, hailed as the "Crown Prince of Reggae" in deference to Bob Marley's kingly rating, died at the University Hospital in Kingston on Thursday, July 1st, 1999.

A spokesman for Brown's camp said the 42-year-old entertainer had been ailing for several weeks, and his condition worsened last night when he was rushed to hospital. Doctors reportedly worked throughout the early morning hours, trying to save his life, but he succumbed at about 7:00 0'clock in the Tony Thwaites Wing of the hospital. Hospital sources told THE STAR that Brown went into cardiac arrest and died. A post mortem has been ordered to determine the cause of death. It is understood that Brown became ill while touring Brazil in May with Gregory Isaacs, Max Romeo and Lloyd Parkes and We the People band. There have been claims that some members of the group who went to Brazil and were detained beyond their intended stay by promoters, have taken ill since returning home. But, Romeo and Isaacs are understood to be okay and are travelling abroad. Lloyd Parkes was not available for comment this morning.

DENNIS BROWN started his career as a nine-year old singer out of Chocomo Lawn in West Kingston, performing with Byron Lee and the Dragonaires in the mid-sixties, appearing on most of Lee's promotions standing on a number of beer boxes to be seen by the audience because of his tiny stature. However, whatever he lacked in height and built, he made up for with a powerful singing voice which made him reggae's most successful singer and, ironically, the favourite of Marley, himself.

He worked with a number of producers over the years, beginning with the legendary Clement "Sir Coxsone' Dodd who produced his first hit, "No Man Is An Island," in 1968 at the age of ten and his first album, of the same name. Other producers included Bunny Lee, Niney, Joe Gibbs, Derrick Harriott and Sly & Robbie.

Brown made 50 albums during his career and numerous hit singles including "Money In My Pocket," "To The Foundation," "Revolution," "Love & Hate," "Silhouettes," "Should I" and "Sitting and Watching."

Some Popular Hits:

Love Has Found Its Way
Sitting And Watching
Promised Land
Should I
Ghetto Girl
Love and Hate
If I follow my heart
Money In My Pocket

News of the sudden death this morning of reggae superstar Dennis Brown, popularly called the Crown Prince of Reggae has rocked the local entertainment industry. Early reactions were gathered by THE STAR from persons who knew the boy wonder who started his career at age 12, and developed his craft, to be dubbed unofficial "Crown Prince ."

Derrick Harriott, who was Brown's first producer back in the '60s described him as: "One of the greatest exponents of reggae music." He said Brown, whose last public performance locally was in December at the Best of Heineken Startime, was always smiling and never shrugged off anyone.

Michael Barnett, promoter of the Heineken Startime series, in remembering Brown said this: "Next to Bob Marley this is the greatest loss for the Jamaican music industry. I don't think we will see a second to him in our lifetime." The promoter said he had been working with Brown on a project and later this evening they were to have done an interview and photo shoot. "He is a man that always delivers. It is unfortunate that this time he couldn't deliver physically, but I am sure he will be there in spirit," he said. Barnett said at the time when he heard the news of his death he was listening to Brown's album 'Inseparable' which was being played by his neighbour.

Local singer Richie Stephens said he had always seen Dennis as one of the greatest reggae artists. "He has always been my idol, the person I wanted to sound like, to be like and wish to meet," Stephens said. He said when he met Brown he came to know that he was a great person- humble, respectable and kind. "Reggae has lost a great asset, may his soul rest in peace," Stephens said.

Source : Jamaican Gleaner

Photo: Unknown

Photo: Teacher

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