Ellis was born in Trenchtown, a poor area of Kingston, Jamaica, and learned to play the piano at a young age. In his teens, Alton and Eddie Perkins formed Alton & Eddie, and began recording for Coxsone Dodd at Studio One, scoring a hit in 1958 with “Muriel”.
Ellis launched his solo career after Perkins left for the United States around 1965. He moved to Treasure Isle and began recording with the back-up trio The Flames. His first hit for Treasure Isle was “Dance Crasher”, a plea for peace, and he followed it up with “Get Ready - Rock Steady”, perhaps the first rocksteady recording. The song was apparently recorded with keyboardist Jackie Mittoo playing the bass guitar part because the bassist did not show up; Mittoo could not keep up with the ska beat, and the tempo was slowed down to accommodate him. This allowed for a choppier rhythm that led Ellis to expand his vocal range.
Ellis’ most well-known song is probably “Girl, I’ve Got A Date”, or “I’m Still In Love With You”, a song that has been versioned many times by artists such as Sean Paul, Althea & Donna (As ‘Uptown Top Ranking’).
In 2006, Ellis was inducted into the International Reggae And World Music Awards (IRAWMA), Hall Of Fame.
Edited by Varese on 28 Oct 2008, 09:06
Sources (view history)
Version 4, 3, his obit by David Katz and own knowledge
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- Founded in
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