Royal Kings Of Reggae

Throughout my musical career I have been influenced by many great artists. There are those who sing out in rebellion. Also those who wish to spread love all over the world.
I have compiled my list of top reggae artists, reggae kings. My list is based on what I feel they have contributed to the field of reggae music.

Now this list is not exhaustive. Feel no way if it is missing somebody that you feel should be on it.
Let me know if you agree with my choices so far. Look out for the new entries soon to come.

If you had to make a top ten list of reggae kings, who would you have on it?

In no particular order, I proudly present:


Dennis Emmanuel Brown

1st Feb 1957 – 1st July 1999
Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica

Dennis Brown
Without doubt my greatest inspiration. Dennis Brown had an amazing voice. He was also a very humble man. Dennis would give praise to any artist, whether they were stars or just beginning their musical journey. Whenever you would meet Dennis, he would greet you with a smile. As for his music? Second to none!

Reggae King Dennis Brown; we salute you!

Dennis Emmanuel Brown was born in Kingston, Jamaica. He had a prolific career spanning 30 years. His career began in the late 1960s.
Dennis’s musical journey began around Orange street. He was surrounded by musicians and dubbed reggae music’s ‘child prodigy’. Dennis Brown went on to record over 75 albums. He also worked with over 35 record labels.
Many of Dennis Brown’s songs have become reggae anthems. Such as; ‘No Man is An Island’ (1969), ‘If I Follow My Heart’, ‘Money In My Pocket’ (1972), ‘Hold On To What You Got’ and ‘Have You Ever Been In Love’.
Dennis Brown was appropriately titled ‘The Crown Prince Of Reggae’  He had such a rich smooth voice and distinctive tone. His inspirational lyrics have influenced every reggae artiste that has emerged since.

Alton Ellis 1

September 1938 – 10th October 2008
Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica

Alton Ellis was known as the ‘Godfather of Rocksteady’. Alton Ellis truly lived up to this title. Alton was an amazing singer. His stage performance, second to none. A true musical icon whose mastery of the microphone was mad! I’m glad to have been able to call Alton Ellis my friend.

Reggae King Alton Ellis; we salute you!

The godfather of reggae music. The man who set the trend in the sixties. He set the standard that we all follow.
Alton Nehemiah Ellis was born in the Trenchtown area of Kingston, Jamaica. He grew up within a musical family. Alton Ellis learnt to play the piano at a young age. He also excelled in both sport and music. Alton Ellis started his singing career in 1959 as one half of duo, Alton & Eddy.

Ken Boothe

Born: 22nd March 1948
Birthplace: Denham Town, Kingston, Jamaica

ken boothe
I call Ken Boothe ‘The Classical One’. Ken shot to fame with his classic hit ‘Everything I own’. I believe that song made number one in the UK national charts. My other favourite Ken Boothe song is, ‘Baby I am not joking’.
Ken continues to give great performances and is still touring.
Reggae King Ken Boothe; we salute you!

Ken Boothe was born in 1948 and hails from Kingston Jamaica. His career began in the early 60’s after some coaxing from his elder sister Hyacinth. Between 1963-65 Ken formed a duo with Stranger Cole. Together they recorded ‘Artibella’ and ‘All Your Friends’.
Ken Boothe amassed a huge collection of reggae hits over 40 years. Many of which are still played in the clubs today. “Everything I Own” and “It’s Gonna take a miracle”  have earned him international fame.

Delroy Wilson

5th October 1948 – 6th March 1995

Delroy was a child prodigy back in Jamaica. He was the first child star and the original Studio One singer. Delroy set the standards from the 60’s. Up to this very day, you can still hear his influence in many of the vocal styles of other artists. His style is very soulful and his diction so clear.
What was also great about Delroy was his sense of humour.
Reggae King Delroy Wilson; we salute you!

The man with the golden voice. Another one who could sit quite comfortably with the best in the world.
Hailed as Jamaica’s first child star. Delroy George Wilson CD was born in the Kingston neighbourhood of Trenchtown. He was just 13 when his music career began. It was in 1962, the very same year that Jamaica gained independence, that the boy wonder released his first single.

Freddy McGregor

Born: 27th June 1956
Birthplace: Clarendon, Jamaica

Another one of our greatest singers. A true ambassador of reggae music throughout the world. Freddy is ever present, consistent and current.
I have been fortunate to perform with Freddy on more than one occasion. He is always helpful and a true mentor. He would always give guidance and leadership.
Freddy McGregor; we salute you!

Freddie McGregor was born in Jamaica in 1956. He grew up listening to his father’s vast collection of music. He began singing at the age of 7. Freddie recorded for Studio One Record Label with the legendary Sir Coxson.
In 1975, Freddie converted to Rastafarianism. This greatly influenced his musical sound and lyrics.
Throughout the decades Freddie McGregor has continued to produce a stream of great hits. Such as, ‘Big Ship’, ‘I was born a winner’ and ‘To be poor is a crime’.
Freddie McGregor’s children have followed in their father’s footsteps.

Beres Hammond

Born: 28th August 1955
Birthplace: Annotto Bay, Jamaica

Beres, Beres, what a singer, what a song writer and what a performer!
It’s a pleasure to know Beres, and watch the majesty of his work. Already a legend in the reggae music industry. Beres has never made a ‘bad song’.
A man with great humility. I am truly thankful to the almighty for blessing Beres and enabling him to contribute to reggae music in the way he has.
Reggae king Beres Hammond; we salute you.

Born in Jamaica 1955, Beres Hammond is a veteran reggae singer. He has a soulful voice and is known for his romantic lovers rock rhythms. His career began in the 70’s as lead singer in a band. In 1979 Beres went on to pursue a solo career recording albums, ‘Let’s Make A Song’ and ‘Red Light’.
In 1981 Beres Hammond formed his own record label ‘Harmony Records’ . Following this, he collaborated with many musicians and producers. He also formed a harmony group ‘Tuesday’s Children’.
Beres’s son, Beresford, and daughter, Natassja, work alongside their father as he continues to tour internationally.

Gregory Issacs

15th July 1951 – 25th October 2010
Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica

Gregory Issacs had a complete style of his own. Absolutely nobody sings like Gregory. No-one writes quite like Gregory either. I think Gregory was one of the greatest personalities in the reggae music industry. He was such a funny man. I have a special affinity towards him because he was the first major artist to take me on tour with him as an opening act.
Bless you Gregory Issacs. You are truly missed.
Reggae King Gregory Issacs; we salute you!

Gregory Isaacs smooth exquisite voice earns him the name ‘The Cool Ruler’. As a young child Gregory entered talent contests. In 1968 he recorded his debut single ‘Another Heartache’.
Gregory recorded with other vocalists before going solo. He then started the African Museum record label and shop. He had a massive hit with “My Only Lover”. Which was credited as the first lovers rock record ever made.
Gregory’s reggae career spanned over 35 years. He had streams of reggae classics. The unforgettable and irreplaceable Gregory Isaacs, has recorded more albums than most of his counterparts.

Garnett Silk

2nd April 1966 – 9th December 1994
Birthplace: Mandeville, Jamaica

garnet silk
I call Garnet Silk ‘The spiritual One’. What a voice and what a performer. It is so sad that he was taken away so soon. It seems Jah has a different work for him. Throughout his short life he set ablaze a serious fire. He put the message in reggae like no other since Bob Marley.
Garnet Silk was a true rasta reggae artist. He would have gone on to be one of our reggae icons.
Reggae King Garnet Silk; we salute you!

I can feel the spirit of his majesty in his heart. Such great charisma.. his light will shine forever.
Garnett Damion Smith was born in the parish of Manchester, Jamaica. From a young age he decided that he would pursue a career in music. At the tender age of 12, he started his career deejaying, or ‘toasting’, for local sound systems. At this time he went under the name, Little Bimbo. He cut his first track in 1985. However it was another two years before his first single was actually released.


Born: 20th October 1964
Birthplace: Davey Town, Jamaica

Luciano is known as ‘The Messenger’. His lyrics are a definite message from his spiritual father, to Luciano, to us. He is a singer, whose spirituality shines through his music. A brilliant song writer with a great voice. Luciano is one of the most dynamic performers you’re likely to see. He is also one of the most humble human beings you are likely to meet.
Reggae King Sir Luciano; we salute you!

Such a great spirit. When he sings, he touches your soul. He always sings with such passion, he is truly blessed.
Jepther Washington McClymont OD, better known as Luciano, was born in the Jamaican parish of Manchester. His parents were both spiritual and musical. He was raised in the church, singing in the choir. Luciano learnt to play the guitar at a young age, “which I realised was showing love and respect to my father,” Luciano recalls. His father passed away when Luciano was just 11, leaving behind a guitar he had built.


Born: 22nd April 1973

Birthplace: St Thomas, Jamaica

Bushman hails from the same parish in Jamaica as me, so I have a special affection for him. I do believe Bushman is one of the very best in the business right now. He has so much to give and is a brilliant songwriter.
A caring artist, Bushman is a man who tries his best to encourage other young artists. This young brother is on a mission, anointed by Jah to enlighten the youth.
I await even bigger and better things for bushman in the near future.
Reggae King Bushman; we salute you!

What a voice! This singer has so much more to give. Another one of our great spiritual singers. Watch out world!
Bushman was born Dwight Marvin Duncan in the parish of St. Thomas, Jamaica. He was raised as a Rastafarian from a very young age. He shined musically throughout his school years. He was also active in various school and church choirs. As a teenager he became a selector for the Black Star Line sound system under the name Junior Melody.

Cocoa Tea

Born: 3rd September 1959
Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica

Sweet singing Cocoa Tea. A reggae artist who, in my opinion is a legend. He has stood the test of time during the dance hall era with his uplifting songs. Cocoa Tea is one of the true voices of reggae music. Lyrically gifted and a character that shines through his music.
Reggae king Cocoa tea; we salute you!

Cocoa Tea was born in Kingston Jamaica in 1959. He is named after a drink that he loves so much. Cocoa Tea began singing in church and school choirs.
Cocoa Tea gained fame with reggae lovers when he released “Young Lover” in 1987. He gained further notoriety in 2008 with his song titled “Barack Obama”. This song was in support of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.
Cocoa Tea recorded for many record labels including VP Records, Greensleeves and Ras Records. He eventually started his own Roaring Lion label.
Cocoa Tea still continues to record and perform.

Maxi Priest

Born: 10th June 1961
Birthplace: Lewisham, London UK

My bonafide bredren Maxi Priest. I couldn’t have a list of great reggae artists without Maxi being on it. I watched him grow from the beginning. His days with ‘Saxon sound system working with Tippa Irie, Smiley culture, The Instigators, The Great Courtney Bartlet and not forgetting Aswad.
It is such a joy for me to see how well Maxi Priest has done and that he is still going strong.
Reggae King Maxi priest; we salute you!

Without a doubt Maxi Priest is the most successful celebrated British reggae artist. His great singing ability awards Maxi global recognition as he brings British reggae music to the world.
Coming from Jamaica heritage, Maxi Priest and his family immigrated to the UK in the late 50”s.
Maxi was influenced by Sydney Elliott his uncle and father to the great Jacob Miller. Sydney was a reknown vocalist.
As with many of our great artists Maxi Priest began singing in church. In 1976 Maxi became involved with UK reggae sound system Saxon Studio and launched his singing career which would bring Maxi international success.
Maxi Priest has three children, Marvin Cornell Elliot, Ryan Elliot and Che Elliot.

Sanchez aka Kevin Anthony Jackson

Born: 30th November 1964
Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica

Reggae king Sanchez we salute you!

Sanchez was born in Kingston Jamaica in 1964. He started singing at an early age in the church choir. He then worked as a selector in several reggae sound systems in Jamaica. His singing career began in 1987 when he recorded his first hit, ‘Lady In Red’ (producer Red Man). As well as ‘Loneliness Leaves Me Alone’, ‘Baby Can I Hold You’, “Frenzy” and many more.
Sanchez got his name from a football player. This was due to his love of the sport. Sanchez is mainly known for his love songs and cover versions of pop R&B.

Sugar Minott

Born: 25th May 1956
Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica

Sugar Minott is definitely one of my reggae hero’s. He’s a true ‘Peoples Champion’. I say this because Sugar longed to help inner city youths. He worked tirelessly to give a voice to many young artistes. Sugar founded ‘Youth Man Promotion’ to continue this work. He has left a legacy that his family can be proud of.

Reggae King Sugar Minott; we salute you!

Also known as the Godfather of Dancehall, the veteran reggae singer Sugar Minott was a pioneer in the 60’s. He layered his vocals over original backing tapes rather than using live studio bands, resulting in his fast-talk dancehall style.
He began his musical career working with several sound system , as a talent scout and then as a producer with Black Roots Label.
Sugar Minott came from a large family of eight children. He married Maxine Stowe (niece of Sir Coxson) and had 4 of his 14 children with her.
His daughter Tamar Minott aka Pashion Minott has followed in his foosteps as a singer.

2 thoughts on “Royal Kings Of Reggae

  1. Joel Savage

    The articles about the past and present reggae stars are very interesting. I love reggae and as a journalist, I have taken the opportunity to interview many of the great artists behind the music, including Lucky Dube, Joseph Hill, Anthony B, Luciano etc. I wish you can add some of my interviews and articles of reggae stars to your website. Jah Guide.

    1. pamela st marthe Post author

      Blessing Joel,

      Many thanks for the extended hand of unity and progression.
      Where do you currently publish your articles?
      Can you send some links for me to vibes your work.
      Jah Rastsfari


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