Reggae singer Desmond Dekker was born Desmond Adolphus Dacres in St. Andrew, Jamaica. He grew up in Kingston and attended the Alpha Boys' School.
His father moved him to St. Mary, and then St. Thomas after the death of his mother.
He first worked as a tailor before returning to Kingston to become a welder. Dekker was encouraged by co-workers to persue a singing career due to his constant singing on the job.
Desmond was a rocksteady, ska and reggae singer-songwriter and musician. The Aces, his backing group consisted of Wilson James and Easton Barrington Howard.
Neither and Duke Reid of Tresure Isle were impressed by his audition with them, but was sucessful at Leslie Kong's Beverley's record label.
Reggae singer Desmond Dekker began to record in 1963 with Kong and his first hit was "Honour Your Mother and Father", then "Sinners Come Home" and "Labour for Learning". The next hit "King of Ska", made him one of the island's biggest stars.
Recording music for over 40 years, he had some big hits, but his music changed from being respectable to the rude boy style. His songs did not go to the extremes, although some of his lyrics rested well with the the rude boys. Such songs include the famous "007 (Shanty Town)". This song convey Dekker as a rude boy icon.
He was the first Jamaican artist to have a major hit in the UK and other major Countries. The release of the "Isrealites", topped the UK charts.
The first reggae hit to do so, reaching #1 and reentering the charts that same year of 1968. This song also reached top ten on the US Billboard Hot 100. Dekker continued to record and toured the world, while living in the UK.
His career was a mixture of high and low times. One of his best recording was "You Can Get It If You Really Want", which was written by Jimmy Cliff and was reluctant to record, but was persuaded by Leslie Kong.
By the end of the 70's Dekker was signed with Stiff Records and recorded his album "Black and Dekker", featuring some of his previous hits.
He made the top ten Belgian Chart with the song "Isrealities", and was followed by Jimmy Cliff's "Many Rivers To Cross" and "Book of Rules".
Although his album "Compass Point" did not sell well he continued to tour and performed live.
In 1984, he was declared bankrupt and was reborned to the public, when his song the "Isrealities" was featured in a Maxwell advertisement.
Survived by a son and a daughter, Dekker died of a heart attack on May 26, 2006.
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