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Last Updated: Friday, 26 May 2006, 12:06 GMT 13:06 UK
Dekker was 'always magnificent'
Desmond Dekker
Dekker had been due to tour this summer (Photo: egigs.co.uk)
Broadcaster Mark Lamarr - the host of BBC Radio 2's Reggae Show - pays tribute to singer Desmond Dekker, who has died at the age of 64.

I knew him pretty well and am shocked and saddened.

It's just bizarre because of all the reggae artists, he was the one that did seem like he was going to go on forever - he was extremely fit.

He did seem very youthful - I would never have guessed that he was 64.

He has just always been around so I think people took him for granted, which I think is a shame.

Surely only second to Bob Marley in terms of importance of bringing reggae music to the masses
Mitchell Stirling, Rochester, UK

He is a very underrated songwriter - when you see him live there are just dozens and dozens of great songs.

And the amount of energy he had made the shows - he was always a big ball of it.

I saw him live dozens of times and he couldn't do a bad show.

He was always magnificent, and there are very few artists that you can say that about.


His shows were the ones I was evangelical about - when people were talking about reggae shows, I would say, "Desmond Dekker is the one you have got to see.'

Apart from anything else, he probably was the first reggae superstar to have hits outside Jamaica in the US and UK.

Mark Lamarr
There are 40 to 50 Desmond Dekker songs that are indispensable in any reggae collection
Mark Lamarr
He was pretty meticulous - when he was on my reggae show once he insisted that we did it live, and it was one of the best shows that we had ever done.

It really comes through in his work, that attention to detail.

Everyone likes Israelites - it is the reggae song for people that don't like reggae.

I defy anyone not to have a smile on their face when they hear it.

Not that any artist needs more than Israelites, but I would say there are 40 to 50 Desmond Dekker songs that are indispensable in any reggae collection.

I urge anyone to go and get a Desmond Dekker greatest hits and put it on, and they will be delighted.


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