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Dennis Brown Biography Links




1957 - 1999
Dennis Emanuel Brown is loved second-to-none in reggae. There really is no-one who could ever take his place.

At the age of 11, Dennis Brown came to the attention of Coxsone Dodd, the legendary owner of Jamaica's Studio One record label. His first record, a cover of the doo-wop hit "No Man Is An Island", revealed him to have a talent mature far beyond his years. Listen to it today and you'll find that the phrasing and tones are still recognisably that of the the mature reggae star. "No Man Is An Island" was an immediate hit in Jamaica, and led to his first album, of the same title in 1970.

His second album, "If I Follow My Heart", also for Studio One, was named after his second major hit. Dennis Brown has arrived, but youth talents are common in reggae; he was really yet to prove himself. 



Biography by Jo-Ann Greene

One of Jamaica's most beloved and prolific artists, the late Dennis Brown has left behind a slew of classic songs and myriad hits, a rich musical legacy born of a career that spanned over 30 years. Born Dennis Emmanuel Brown in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1957, his childhood home virtually destined him to a future in the music industry. He grew up on Orange Street, the heart of the island's music scene, with most of the major recording studios a mere stone's throw away. As the stars and future hitmakers paraded by day and music pumped out of the studios, the child could not help but be entranced. It was truly serendipitous that Brown himself had a voice that would set the studios ablaze. It didn't take long for the producers to discover his talent and by the time he was 11, the youngster had a first hit to his name, with a cover of the Impressions' "No Man Is an Island." It was the beginning of a successful, but not exclusive, partnership (Brown also scored with "If I Had the World" for producer Prince Buster). However, Dodd was responsible for Brown's debut album, 1970's No Man Is an Island, and its follow-up the next year, If I Follow My Heart.

Now entering his teens, the singer was ready to start making the studio rounds on a regular basis, cutting songs with a clutch of different producers. The album Super Reggae & Soul Hits gathers some of his work during this period and features a mix of superb, if lightweight, covers alongside a number of self-penned classics, all cut with producer Derrick Harriott. 1975's Best Of gathered a similar selection of material recorded for Joe Gibbs earlier in the decade. In 1972, the 16-year-old entered Gibbs' Duhaney Park studio and recorded the song that later established his international reputation, "Money in My Pocket."


b. Dennis Emanuel Brown, 1 February 1957, Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies, d. 1 July 1999, Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies. Regularly billed as "The Crown Prince Of Reggae', it was only Brown"s self-effacing nature that denied him advancement to the office of king. Loved in reggae music like no other singer, Brown was regularly courted by the major record labels, and even enjoyed a couple of token chart hits in Britain. More to the point, he produced more reggae classics than just about anyone else. He began his career at the age of 9 as one of the Studio One label's many child stars. His first hit, "No Man Is An Island" (1969), found him singing in much the same style he was to use througho0ut his career, only with a far less croaky voice. "If I Follow My Heart", his other chief hit at Studio One, was every bit as good. He spent the early 70s freelancing between studios, recording for Lloyd Daley, Impact, Joe Gibbs and Aquarius, before recording his third collection, Super Reggae And Soul Hits, a mature, classic record, full of Derrick Harriott's soulful arrangements and Brown's rich tones. A move to Winston "Niney" Holness' label was no less profitable. The two albums he made there, Just Dennis and Wolf & Leopards, were recorded three years apart but their seamless rootsy artistry made them clearly part of one body of work.

Daniel Brown, son of the late Reggae icon, Dennis Brown, has his hands full these days. With an album still in the making, three modelling contracts in London and the USA, and plans afoot to develop a Dennis Brown product line, the 20 "something" year-old, British born is also preparing for the launch of an annual tribute to his father in London. This tribute and memorial, he told TeenAge, "will coincide with International Reggae Day which is July 1". 

Additional links with detailed or authoritative Dennis Brown Biography information:

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