Alton Ellis

Alton Ellis

Real Name:
Alton Nehemiah Ellis
King of Rocksteady
Born: 1st September 1938 Kingston, Jamaica
Died: 10th October 2008 London, England
Jamaican singer, songwriter, producer and promoter.

Alton Ellis was born in down town Kingston into a musical family and raised in Trenchtown, Kingston. He was the older brother of reggae singer Hortense Ellis and at the end of his life father of 20 children including Noel Ellis.

He grew up being a good dancer and winning some dance contests at Vere Johns' Opportunity Hour. His first musical steps happened in 1959 when he started with Eddie Parkins as Alton & Eddy. He first recorded for Blue Beat, Vincent "Randy" Chin's Randy's later like nearly everyone at that time for Clement "Coxsone" Dodd's Studio One. He scored some massive hits like Muriel / Walk All Over till Perkins left to the U.S. and he had to look for a new partner. Alton stayed in Kingston and worked as a painter till he found a new genius partner in John Holt, till Holt joined Paragons.
After that Ellis formed The Flames including his brother Leslie Ellis, David "Baby G" Gordon and Winston Jarrett. The trio was first planed to be his backing band, but soon they released a few singles as Alton Ellis & The Flames. He also worked as a studio musician at Brendtford Road and his voice can be heard in a lot of backing vocals till 1967. In 1967 he joined Soul Vendors to tour the U.K.

He also released the first declared rocksteady song "Get Ready - Rocksteady" which can be found on Get Ready Rock Steady. He music happened cause in a recording session, the bassist didn't show up and Ellis forced organ maestro Jackie Mittoo to play bass instead. Mittoo couldn't keep the speed and that's why a slower rhythm emerged. He released another classic rocksteady record Sings Rock And Soul. After leaving Studio One cause due to payment reasons, he signed a contract a Dodd's big rival Arthur "Duke" Reid's Treasure Isle. Reid's good connections to the U.K. allowed that Alton got well distributed through Trojan Records and GAS.

"The Godfather of Rocksteady" traveled regularly to England, and even moved there in 1973 after spending some years in Toronto, Canada. When moving to the U.K., he stopped all his Jamaican band projects. In London, he started his own business with a record store called Alltone, later also converged to a same titled label. He recorded with British producers and toured till the end of his life.

In 2007 Alton was inducted into the Hall Of Fame at the International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA). He died in London 10 October 2008 at Hammersmith Hospital, of cancer. In his five decades of reggae music, he was always an important influence. Nearly every Jamaican reggae artist refers to him as "King" or "Father". He nearly worked with all important personalities of reggae history. He definitely leaves a huge gap.
In Groups:

Alton Ellis Discography


CSL 8008 Alton Ellis Sings Rock And Soul (Album) Coxsone Records CSL 8008 Jamaica 1967 Sell This Version
PSOL 3423, none Alton Ellis Sunday Coming (Album) Studio One, Coxsone Records PSOL 3423, none Jamaica 1970 Sell This Version
013 Alton Ellis Mr Soul Of Jamaica (Album, Comp) Treasure Isle 013 Jamaica 1974 Sell This Version
HRLP 708 Alton Ellis Still In Love (Album) Trojan Records, Horse HRLP 708 UK 1977 Sell This Version
T-T LP-001-80 Alton Ellis Many Moods Of (Comp, Album) Tele - Tech T-T LP-001-80 US 1980 Sell This Version
CHALP 009 Alton Ellis & The Heptones Alton Ellis & The Heptones - Mr Skabeana(LP, Red) Cha Cha Music CHALP 009 UK 1980 Sell This Version
SCLP 009 Alton Ellis Daydreaming(LP) Silver Camel SCLP 009 UK 1983 Sell This Version
BMZLP10 Alton Ellis A New Day(LP, Album) Body Music (2) BMZLP10 UK 1983 Sell This Version
MSC 305394, ALT 001 Alton Ellis 25th Silver Jubilee (Album) Sky Note MSC 305394, ALT 001 Jamaica 1984 Sell This Version
SO LP 3351 Alton Ellis Showcase(LP, Album) Studio One SO LP 3351 US 1984 Sell This Version
SKY LP 53 Alton Ellis Jubilee Vol. 2(LP) Sky Note SKY LP 53 UK 1985 Sell This Version
AT005LP Alton Ellis Continuation(LP) Alltone AT005LP Jamaica 1985 Sell This Version
ANGLP 005 Alton Ellis Here I Am(LP) Angella Records ANGLP 005 UK 1988 Sell This Version
none Alton Ellis Sets A Better Example(LP) Half-Way Tree none US 1989 Sell This Version
ATLP013 Alton Ellis Family Vibes (Album) Alltone ATLP013 UK 1992 Sell This Version
CDSGP071 Alton Ellis Valley Of Decision (Album) Prestige Records Ltd. CDSGP071 UK 1993 Sell This Version
AT LP005, ATLP 014 Alton Ellis Man From Studio One (Album) Alltone, Alltone AT LP005, ATLP 014 UK 1994 Sell This Version
JGMLP00307-7 Alton Ellis More Alton Ellis (Album) Joe Gibbs Music JGMLP00307-7 Canada 1997 Sell This Version
ATLP 012 Alton Ellis The Legendary (Comp) Alltone ATLP 012 UK 2001 Sell This Version
PRP019 Alton Ellis live with Aspo Alton Ellis live with Aspo - Workin' On A Groovy Thing (Album) Belleville International PRP019 France 2003 Sell This Version
AALP 21 Alton Ellis Changes (Album) Clocktower Records AALP 21 Canada Unknown Sell This Version
TDWD 6 Alton Ellis Love To Share(LP, Album) Third World TDWD 6 UK Unknown Sell This Version

Singles & EPs

45/BB 83 Eric Morris*, Busters Group* / A. Ellis*, Busters Group* Eric Morris*, Busters Group* / A. Ellis*, Busters Group* - Money Can't Buy Life / True Love(7") Blue Beat 45/BB 83 UK 1962 Sell This Version
JB.101 Hortense Ellis / Hortense* & Alton* Hortense Ellis / Hortense* & Alton* - I'll Come Softly / I'm In Love(7") R&B (2) JB.101 UK 1963 Sell This Version
none Alton Ellis Mouth A Massey / Ska Beat (Single) Pat's Record none Jamaica 1965 Sell This Version