Reggae pioneer Desmond Dekker dies, aged 64

Guardian Unlimited Arts | Arts news | Reggae pioneer Desmond Dekker dies, aged 64

Ska legend Desmond Dekker has died suddenly from a heart attack, his manager said today.

The 64-year-old Jamaican, best known for his 1969 smash hit Israelites, collapsed at his home in Surrey yesterday morning.

Some of my favorite Desmond Dekker tunes include 007 (Shanty Town), Licking Stick, and Nincompoop.

There is a great Dekker 2 CD Anthology that spans 1963-1999. You can hear the history of what became reggae in his work. The first cut “Honour Your Mother and Father” isn’t very far removed from New Orleans R&B. Think Shirley and Lee with added skank guitar. As the discs progress you can hear the development from ska to rock steady to modern reggae.

Desmond Dekker was one of the foundations of the great Jamaican music of the last half of the 20th century. RIP.