Dennis Brown, the “Crown Prince of Reggae” who had suffered from having just one lung, died on 1 July 1999 at the age of 42, from pneumonia. He leaves a wife and 13 children.
Beginning his musical career at 9 years of age, by the time he had reached 12, he had become a full member of Bryon Lee’s “Dragonaires”. A visit to Studio One at the age of 12 resulted in his first hits, the singles "No Man Is an Island" and "If I Follow My Heart".
In a career that spanned 4 decades, Dennis worked with many of reggaes top names, beginning with Coxon Dodd at Studio One, going on to work with such artists and producers as Winston (Niney) Holness, Joe Gibbs, Derrick Harriott, Herman Chin-Loy, Sidney Crooks, Prince Buster, Randy's, Phil Pratt and GG Ranglin.
The list goes on with Clive Hunt and Willie Lindo, engineer Errol Thompson, Sly & Robbie, Gussie Clarke, Tad Dawkins, Trevor Bow, Bunny Lee and Delroy Wright. In the 90’s Dennis worked with such luminaries as Junior Reid, Black Scorpio, Michael Bennett, and who can ever forget the legendary sides cut with Big Youth back in the 70’s.
After the recut “Money in My Pocket” hit the pop charts in England during the late 70’s, he moved to London and stayed for many years. This resulted in many hits and a contract with A & M Records. In 1994 he was nominated for a Grammy for the album “Light My Fire”.
Dennis Brown died on Thursday July 3rd 1999 of pneumonia/respiratory failure, while a patient at the University Hospital of the West Indies.
In the days leading up to Dennis’ funeral, a reported 10,000 mourners (right) filed past the casket. Later, crowds watched a tribute at the National Arena, which included performances from Maxi Priest and Shaggy, as well as an appearance from his five sons.
Jamaican Prime Minister Patterson led the eulogies while Dennis Brown became the first entertainer to be buried in the National Heroes.
Known as Bob Marley’s favorite singer, he released over 60 albums and 300 singles in 26 years.