Throwback: Dennis Brown-Promised Land
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Dennis Brown was a Jamaican reggae singer who started his career at age 12 with a cover of the Doo-wop hit song “No Man Is An Island.” Legendary record producer Coxsone Dodd had discovered Brown when he was singing with The Falcons and signed him to a contract with his Studio One label. Brown’s first album also named No Man Is An Island came out in 1970 and introduced him as an impressive new voice. His second album, If I Follow My Heart, for Studio One came out the following year but Brown had already left the label.Throughout the ’70’s he established himself with the help of producers Niney The Observer, Derrick Harriott and Joe Gibbs by recording seminal releases like “Concentration,” “He Can’t Spell,” “Westbound Train,” “Cassandra,” “Moving Away,” “Yagga Yagga” and “Money In My Pocket” that became his international breakthrough song. In 1976 he recorded the popular “Wolves And Leopards” with Lee Scratch Perry. “Promised Land” was a 12″ release that he recorded in 1979 with the help of Aswad’s “Love Fire” as the backing track. The song was sampled in recent times by Nas and Damian Marley for their Distant Relatives album. In 1980 he signed a contract with A&M Records and moved to London. A total of two albums would be completed for the company including Foul Play and The Prophet Rides Again. He began working with production and rhythm section Sly and Robbie around this time and they collaborated on the 1983 track “Revolution.” The following year he worked with them and Gregory Isaacs on the Two Bad Superstars Meet project and the “Let aaf Sum’n” single. His work with King Jammy on The Exit album of 1986 is noted for its impact but it is the Unchallenged album and the “Big All Around” duet with Isaacs that is considered his most important success of the time. Brown continued to record in the ’90’s and garned a Grammy nomination for “Light My Fire” in 1995. “Cosmic Force” was another success produced by Niney The Observer and Sly and Robbie taking bass and drum solos. Brown died of cardiac arrest in 1999 and received the Order of Distinction posthumously in 2011 from Jamaica’s Governor-General for his contributions to the Jamaican music industry. He is known around the world to most people as the Crown Prince Of Reggae.