Friday, January 25, 2008
Dennis or D. Brown, as he was affectionately known, had he lived, would have celebrated his 51st birthday February 1st 2008. Brown is arguably the greatest singer in the history of Jamaican music, yet he has the distinction of being the greatest Jamaican singer to never ?hit the big time? in his musical career.
Brown never achieved the international recognition like Bob Marley, or had similar record sales. Though he was nominated twice for a Grammy Awards he never won. However his contribution to Jamaican music makes him just as much an architect of reggae music as Bob Marley. Producer and songwriter Bennett, who produced two albums with Brown, praised his vocals because he possessed ?that rhythmic quality to his voice, the smoothness with which he dominated the (reggae) rhythm track, making every song he sung sound like a Dennis Brown song? and as such his vocals ?were the perfect bridge between the dominant American Rhythm & Blues and Jamaican singing? (That) if extracted from Jamaican music, would still, have Jamaican singers probably sounding like American R&B singers.?
Brown was born on Orange Street, a ghetto area in the downtown Kingston section of Jamaica on Feb. 1, 1957. His father, Arthur Brown, was a well-known actor in Jamaican theater circles. Very little is known about his mother. Brown attended Central Branch Junior Secondary School in West Kingston. At age 11, he became a child prodigy singer, performing his first concert with Byron Lee & the Dragonaires band in Kingston. Because of his diminutive size, Brown had to stand on beer crates to sing into the mike.