Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Laurel Aitken 1927-2005... Rest In Peace.

The Godfather of Ska Mr. Laurel Aitken Passed away on Sunday morning at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester from a heart attack.

Laurel Aitken - Shake

It's a sad day when someone who you respect as an artist dies, but what is even sadder about Laurel's death is the fact that he died having never had the recognition that he deserved for being the pioneer of Ska.
Of course there are all the soul and ska clubs up and down the country where he performed and was loved and respected by all who came in contact with him, or were entertained by him, but your average bod on the street would no doubt never have heard of him, and yet most of his contemporaries are household names.... that's a real shame.

Laurel Aitken - Never You Hurt

Laurel was born in 1927 in Cuba and moved to Jamaica as an 11 year old with his family. He began his career in music in the 40's but really came into his own in the late 50's releasing several well received singles and also had the honour of releasing the very first 7" on Island Records... the double A-Side single "Little Sheila" and "Boogie In My Bones" spent 11 weeks at the number 1 spot in Jamaica in 1958.

Laurel Aitken - Baba Kill Me Goat

Laurel Moved to England in 1960 and was an immediate smash in the clubs, he also continued releasing great music right through the seventies where the burgeoning British Ska/TwoTone scene took him to their hearts, he played with The Beat and Secret Affair and quite surprisingly he played with The Ruts as his backing band too...
Well actually maybe that's not that surprising....
Right through the 80's and 90's he was still very active in the clubs and releasing many records, he even squeezed in an appearance in the film "Absolute Beginners" with a certain Mr. Bowie...

Sadly though the last years of his life he was struggling with throat cancer and general bad health, and to top that he was pretty much penniless, so the clubs he had supported for so many years put on fund raising shows to try and get the much needed cash to get him the best treatment that was possible, and although he was I'll he always made an effort to get to the shows and raise a smile, and was showing his support for the whole Ska movement right up to the end.

Laurel Aitken, The Godfather of Ska 1927-2005
Rest In Peace.

Buy - Laurel Aitken - The Pioneer of Jamaican Music, Vol.1
Visit - Laurel Aitken Bio


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