From The West Indian Encyclopedia
The Internationally acclaimed Godfather of reggae, the king of Rock Steady. Alton Ellis was born in kingston, Jamaica, and began his career as a dancer at the age of sixteen. After achieving many awards in this field over a two year period, Alton took an interest in singing. His debut was as a vocal duo named Alton and Eddy. Their first recording on the Coxsone label, 'Muriel', was a major hit in Jamaican recording history. After Eddy left Jamaica to live in America, Alton formed a group named 'Alton and The Flames'.
They recorded a large number of hit songs on the Treasure Isle label, including 'Dance Crashers', Girl I've got a Date', 'Rock Steady' and 'Black Mans Pride'. After three years with Alton and The Flames, Alton launched his career as a solo artist and joined the 'Studio One Label' in 1967. The amount of hits that Alton created during this period is so enormous that to mention them all would be impossible. 'I'm Still in Love', 'Breaking Up' and 'I'm Just a Guy' were just a few.
His first album 'Rock and Soul', released on the Studio One label was a Giant, paving the way for the many that were to follow over the years to come. Alton left Jamaica in 1969 to spend two years in Toronto, Canada. He returned home for a period of three years and left again in 1974 to make his permanent home in London, England. Alton has worked with every significant artist in the Reggae field, he has taught many upcoming artists. He is well respected by all who know him and revered by some. Alton has performed in Europe, The United Kingdom, The United States, Canada and The West Indies. He made a dramatic impression in Sunsplash 1983.
Alton has received awards in recognition of his outstanding achievements as an artist and his contribution to the Reggae Music Industry from the following: The Jamaican cultural Development Commission, British Music Industry, Black Echoes, The Voice, Reggae Hall of Fame and KGFJ, a Los Angeles radio station.
The prolific singer, who began his career in the 1950s and fronted vocal group The Flames, was diagnosed with cancer in 2007.
Ellis underwent chemotherapy before returning to the stage, but died in London's Hammersmith hospital on Friday night October 10, 2008.
He leaves more than 20 children.