Dennis Brown, dubbed ‘The Crown Prince of Reggae’, died on July 1, 1999, in Kingston. He was only 42 years old, having been born on February 1, 1957. Four years ago, his contribution to music was recognised by the Jamaican Government with a posthumous Order of Distinction (OD), Commander Class.
Dennis Brown had a prolific career – from being a child star doing Lips of Wine for singer-producer Derrick Harriot and the better-known No Man Is an Island for Clement ‘Sir Coxson’ Dodd, to signing with international label A&M in the early 1980s. That alliance resulted in three albums: Foul Play, Love Has Found Its Way, and Prophet Rides Again.
They were among a reported over 75 albums, which Brown recorded during his lifetime, although, in dance halls and even less on radio, his prodigious output has been reduced to a handful of songs. These include Here I Come (more popularly known by its opening words Love and Hate), Revolution and To the Foundation.
Among Dennis Brown’s numerous other standout tracks are Silhouette, Wolves and Leopards, Cassandra, Promised Land, Your Love Got a Hold on Me, a cover of Little Green Apples and Love Has Found Its Way.
Renowned for his lengthy performances to close the now-defunct Reggae Sunsplash music festival, Brown hosted the very popular Inseparable series (named after one of his hit songs) during the 1990s, at which he performed and collaborated with a number of guests.
In more recent years, a memorial concert for Dennis Brown has been held sporadically in downtown Kingston, first outside Big Yard on Orange Street, Kingston, where he lived during childhood, and then on the Waterfront in downtown Kingston.
None has been held this year.