Alton Ellis  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
rocksteady, I'm Still In Love

Alton Ellis (September 1, 1940 - October 10, 2008), was a Jamaican musician best known for such singles as "I'm Still In Love," "Rock Steady" (which gave the rocksteady genre its name), "Can I Change My Mind "[1]; as well as the originator of the Mad Mad riddim.


Ellis started his career in 1959 as part of a duo with Eddie Perkins. Alton and Eddie recorded for Coxsone Dodd at Studio One before Perkins moved to the US.

Duke Reid took Ellis to his Treasure Isle label in 1962. By the mid-60's Ska was moving on and the beat was slowing down to cool the 'rude-boy' culture in the Jamaican dancehalls. Treasure Island embraced this movement and in 1966 Ellis put himself at the top of the bill. Recording with a backing trio, The Flames (consisting of his brother 'Leslie Ellis, David "Baby G" Gordon and a guy called Ronnie'), Ellis scored big with the hits "Girl I've Got a Date","Cry Tough", and then the song "Rock Steady" which lent its name to the genre.

As Rocksteady dominated the Jamaican airwaves for the next two years, Ellis continued to score hits for Treasure Isle working with artists including Lloyd Charmers, Phyllis Dillon and The Heptones.

In 2006, Ellis was inducted into the International Reggae And World Music Awards, Hall Of Fame.

Rocksteady and the rude boys

By the mid 1960s, ska was moving on and the beat was slowing down to rocksteady and becoming associated with the violent rude boy subculture in Jamaican dancehalls. Many artists made records referring to the rude boys, including Ellis, although his records were consistently anti-rudie, including "Don't Trouble People", "Dance Crasher", and "Cry Tough", in contrast to artists such as Bob Marley, who Ellis blamed for glorifiying the rudies.


  • Mr Soul Of Jamaica (1967) Treasure Isle
  • Sings Rock and Soul (1967) Studio One
  • The Best Of (1969) Coxsone
  • Sunday Coming (1970) Coxsone
  • Greatest Hits (1973) Count Shelly also released as Cry Tough
  • Still In Love (1977) Horse
  • A Love To Share (1979) Third World
  • Showcase (1984) Studio One
  • Slummin' (198?) Abraham
  • Mr Ska Bean'a (1981) Cha Cha (Alton Ellis & The Heptones)
  • A New Day (1983) Body Music
  • Daydreaming (1983) Silver Camel
  • 25th Silver Jubilee (1984) Sky Note
  • Continuation (1985) All Tone
  • Jubilee Volume 2 (1985) Sky Note
  • Change My Mind (2000) Orchard
  • More Alton Ellis (2001) T.P.
  • Live With Aspo Belle
With Hortense Ellis
Hortense Ellis
  • Alton & Hortense Ellis At Studio 1 (1990) Heartbeat
  • All My Tears (1965-68) (2006) Brook
  • Alton Ellis Sings, Heptones Harmonise Jet Star (Alton Ellis & The Heptones - 1978-80)
  • Arise Black Man (1968-78) Moll Selekta
  • Be True To Yourself (196X-7X) (2004) Trojan
  • Get Ready For Rock Reggae Steady (1967-74) (1999) Jamaican Gold
  • Many Moods Of Alton Ellis (1978-80) (1980) Tele-Tech
  • My Time Is The Right Time (1966-71) (2000) Westside
  • Reggae Valley Of Decision (197X) (1996) House of Reggae
  • Soul Groover (1997) Trojan
  • Reggae Max (1997) Jet Star
  • The Duke Reid Collection (1999) Rhino
  • Soul of Jamaica (2001) Bianco
  • It Hurts Me So (2006) Essential Gold
  • Reggae Chronicles (2006) Hallmark
  • Muriel (2007) All Tone

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Alton Ellis" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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