SIXTY-NINE-YEAR-OLD Leonard Dillon of the Ethiopians passed away yesterday at his daughter's home after suffering from lung and prostate cancer. According to his daughter, Patrice, he was first diagnosed with a brain a tumour and he did an operation in February to remove it, returning home "quite well and okay" In June, he fell ill again and this time he was diagnosed with lung, brain and prostate cancer. His daughter says her dad was in the hospital for a week before he was eventually sent home.
Commenting on her father's death, Patrice says: "I was prepared, when I found him this morning, I knew I saw my dad for the last time. I am just happy that he died here. He will be missed, I know it will take one day at a time to go on," she said about the father of seven who has always been there for her. He could be aggressive at times to us kids, but there was no doubting his love for us," said Patrice. Singer Lloyd Parks found out about his friend's death after getting a phone call from a promoter in Australia wanting Dillon to perform.
He contacted Patrice intending to pass on the information when he got the shocking news. Commenting on his colleague's death, Parks said Dillon will be missed. "He was really talented and had great ideas. A lot of people might not know it, but he was a cornerstone internationally." Parks shared that Dillon was a humorous person and always had him cracking up. According to the bio posted on Dillon's Facebook page: The Ethiopians were one of Jamaica's most influential vocal groups. The duo, which featured Leonard Dillon and Stephen Taylor, was at the forefront of the transition from ska to rocksteady.
Moreover, Dillon's style and use of Rastafarian-themed lyrics also paved the way for the socially conscious roots reggae era. In 1964, Dillon met Peter Tosh, who admired his original material and introduced him to the other members of the Wailers. In turn, the Wailers brought Dillon to Clement "Coxsone" Dodd's Studio One, where he made his first recordings under the name Jack Sparrow. Since these first recordings, Dillon has gone on to record with the likes of Vincent Chin, Prince Buster, Joe Gibbs, Bob Andy, Rupie Edwards, and Lee "Scratch" Perry.
In 2009, he returned to the studio with the legendary Jamaican vocal team The Silvertones to record his album Original Hitmakers From Jamaica, Volume 1: Leonard Dillon The Ethiopian. The Ethiopians were known for songs such as Hong Kong Flu, Fire Deh A Muss Muss Tail, Everything Crash, Nyah Nuh Want Nuh Baptism, and I'm Gonna Take Over Now.
SOURCE: Jamaica Observer