Monday, 10 October 2011

In Remembrance of Alton Ellis

Today marks the third year since the passing of reggae legend Alton Nehemiah Ellis. Also commonly referred to as the 'Godfather of Rocksteady,' the Jamaican born musician's  influence in the world of music has been truly remarkable. Whilst his music is still recognised Worldwide by millions of people, he is still very much alive and lives on with us today. 

Below I have posted one of Alton Ellis' trademarking songs, accompanied by a quote from the man himself regarding both the track, and how the emergence of 'Rocksteady' actually came about. Whilst 'Get Steady - Rock Steady' was noticeably the first song to use the term "rocksteady," and illustrate the more laid-back tempo which later evolved into reggae, 'Girl I've Got A Date' was in fact the very first rocksteady song.
"I was off the scene for a while during the ska period and when I returned and joined the Treasure Isle studio, I came there with a different mood. The musicians picked up on that and we kept on going in that direction. The music became slower, which gave the bass player the time to play more notes. In 1965 I named it rocksteady. The first rocksteady song was 'Girl I've Got A Date'. That one was still a bit up-tempo, leaning towards ska. It turned the tide and made Treasure Isle the number one studio." - Alton Ellis

The pioneering reggae artist's catalog of music stretches over many years, featuring a number of artists and also entails a number of great hits on record labels such as Trojan, Treasure Isle and Studio One. The next track is one that I heard many a time on a Sunday morning whilst Mum and Dad were in the kitchen cooking. Holding many memories for myself and people all over the World, I simply could not resist...

This next video which I have chosen to include shows the late great Alton Ellis performing live at the Jazz Cafe in the very same year that he passed away showing that he still had it right up until his dying days.

Whilst Alton Ellis may be physically gone, his legacy certainly lives on! Here, his son Christopher Ellis does a tribute to his father, as well as a cover of the Alton Ellis classic 'Willow Tree.' Whilst paving the way for himself in his very own musical career, the talented recording artist clearly takes after his father and is a living memory of the late great Alton Ellis. 

R.I.P Alton Nehemiah Ellis xx

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