RIP: Desmond Dekker

by Jon Mandle on May 28, 2006

Desmond Adolphus Dacres (aka Desmond Dekker) died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 64. The NY Times, where I saw this, seems to be a few days behind – he died on Wednesday. Dekker had 20 number 1 hits in Jamaica, starting with “Honour Your Mother and Your Father” in 1963. (That’s how it’s listed on the version I have, but I’ve also seen it also referred to as “Honour Your Mother and Father”, which doesn’t scan as well. There is, however, no excuse for the Times’ calling it “Honour Thy Father and Mother.”) “The Israelites” [spelling corrected] hit number 1 in Britain and number 9 in the US in 1969. Wikipedia is not right that this was the “first international Jamaican hit”, but it certainly did pave the way for other Jamaican recording artists. His final concert was on May 11.



John Emerson 05.28.06 at 8:33 am

Whatever happened to Millie Small? Not jailbait any more, I presume.


rilkefan 05.28.06 at 9:23 am

“which doesn’t scan as well”

Very odd conclusion, unless one likes sequences of internally rhyming weak syllables – ‘er and your’.


Jon Mandle 05.28.06 at 11:01 am

I meant it doesn’t scan as well as a lyric with the rhythm of the song.


nameless 05.28.06 at 11:21 am

If the Wikipedia entry is wrong, you should fix it. Not that you are obligated to because you mention the mistake, but you obviously care enough that your contribution would be welcome.


Barry Freed 05.28.06 at 11:38 am

Sad news.

BTW, there’s also no excuse for you calling it “The Israelistes”, either. That song is sublime.


Ron F 05.28.06 at 12:44 pm

Two minutes, 34 seconds of sonic perfection


KP 05.28.06 at 5:07 pm

Last year I found a weekly audio stream out of Brighton England called Roots Garden Radio — the parts of the show I usually like is when they play hard to find, old reggae tunes. I recall telling a buddy of mine how hard it is to find some of these songs particularly when the artists use AKAs — I used the example of Junior Hibbert aka Junior Delgado aka Oscar Hibbert. The very next day I read that he died, young (age 48 if I recall correctly). I thought it was an odd coincidence.

Anyways if you like old reggae, you can find some decent stuff at Pandora — check out The Melodians, Alton Ellis, Ernie Smith, Cornell Campbell, Toots & The Maytals, Burning Spear to name just a few.


mara 05.29.06 at 7:56 am

“Wikipedia is not right” is understandable when you first view an entry, but after you’re done viewing the entry, strictly speaking, you’re the reason it’s still wrong.


Dave Hill 05.29.06 at 2:36 pm

My favourite Desmond Dekker hit is It Mek, the follow up to Israelites, which reached no. 7 in the UK in June 1969. Years back I interviewed quite a lot of pop stars but never him, though I did once sit next to him in the reception area at Stiff records for about seven minutes. Let me tell you, I’m a guy worth knowing.

Comments on this entry are closed.