Happy Reggae Month and welcome to 28 Days of Reggae where we’ll shine a celebratory spotlight on those reggae forerunners who have gone ahead of us, leaving a lasting legacy that is rich, true, and universally loved. Feel free to chime in at any time on Twitter or in the comments about a particular artist and we’ll share the love together.
We felt it was only appropriate that we kick off 28 Days of Reggae with one of the richest creative minds who lent his talents to the reggae music industry, Dennis Brown, who would have been 57 years old today. He was one of Bob Marley’s major influences.
Dennis Emmanuel Brown started his musical journey in the 1960s when he was just a babe. He later went on to record almost 100 albums. His memorable tune “No Man is an Island” was recorded at Coxsone Dodd’s studios when he was just a tween; but “Money in My Pocket” would be his ticket to international accolade. Several more tunes throughout the 70s would keep Brown as a mainstay among London’s sound systems.
With the release of “Visions of Dennis Brown”, audiences witnessed the reggae boy-wonder mature into the roots-man. Recording tracks at Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry’s Black Ark studio, Brown continued his musical journey with numerous collaborations with Gregory Isaacs, Sly & Robbie, and Beenie Man up to the mid-90s. He was a prolific musician, releasing almost 90 albums from 1970 up to his death in 1999, and that does not include his live albums.
He was posthumously honored with the Order of Distinction for his contributions to reggae music by the Jamaican government. Not enough documentaries exist about the Crown Prince of Reggae, but his musical legacy will not permit reggae lovers to forget who he is, or misplace him as a pillar in reggae music.
My uncle introduced me to Dennis Brown years ago. From then until now, Dennis Brown has not left my personal playlist. My personal favourite from Dennis Brown? Here I Come. That pause between the opening lyrics and the beat make the beat even harder when it drops. Woi! What’s yours?