Dennis Emmanuel Brown CD (1 February 1957 – 1 July 1999) was a Jamaican reggae singer. During his prolific career, which began in the late 1960s when he was aged eleven, he recorded more than 75 albums and was one of the major stars of lovers rock, a subgenre of reggae. Bob Marley cited Brown as his favourite singer, dubbing him “The Crown Prince of Reggae”, and Brown would prove influential on future generations of reggae singers.
Dennis Brown was born on 1 February 1957 at Jubilee Hospital in Kingston, Jamaica. His father Arthur was a scriptwriter, actor, and journalist, and he grew up in a large tenement yard between North Street and King Street in Kingston with his parents, three elder brothers and a sister, although his mother died in the 1960s. He began his singing career at the age of nine, while still at junior school, with an end-of-term concert the first time he performed in public, although he had been keen on music from an even earlier age, and as a youngster was a keen fan of American balladeers such as Brook Benton, Sam Cooke, Frank Sinatra, and Dean Martin. He cited Nat King Cole as one of his greatest early influences. He regularly hung around JJ’s record store on Orange Street in the rocksteady era and his relatives and neighbours would often throw Brown pennies to hear him sing in their yard. Brown’s first professional appearance came at the age of eleven, when he visited a local club where his brother Basil was performing a comedy routine, and where he made a guest appearance with the club’s resident group, the Fabulous Falcons (a group that included Cynthia Richards, David “Scotty” Scott, and Noel Brown).