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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 July, 2005, 08:47 GMT 09:47 UK
Ska 'Godfather' Aitken dies at 78
Singer Laurel Aitken, known as the "Godfather of Ska", has died at the age of 78.

Aitken, who was raised in Jamaica before emigrating to the UK, died of a heart attack.

"Laurel was a great man and a good man, the Godfather of Ska and someone who was deeply loved," Mark Wyeth, promoter of Club Ska live music nights, said.

Aitken was at the forefront of the ska movement, and had the first recording released on the Island Records label.

Born Oliver Stephens, his family moved from Cuba to Jamaica when he was 10.

His early singing career saw him entertaining tourists singing calypso for the Jamaican Tourist Board at Kingston Harbour.

Aitken's first recording was the 1957 single Roll Jordan Roll, followed by Boogie Rock.

He moved to London in 1960, where the demand for Jamaican music was growing.

As well as appealing to the African and West Indian population in the UK, he also drew in skinheads and mods.

Although he semi-retired in the 1970s, basing himself in Leicester, he still performed with a number of ska bands, and retained a cult following.

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