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Last Updated: Friday, 26 May 2006, 14:40 GMT 15:40 UK
'His work will live on for years'
Desmond Dekker
Dekker is said to have paved the way for artists like Bob Marley
Brinsley Forde, BBC 6 Music DJ and former frontman of reggae band Aswad, reflects on the enduring influence of the late Desmond Dekker.

It is a sad loss. I had met him a few times and had a lot of respect for him.

He was one of the first reggae artists to really make a mark on the European market.

You have got to say that his success really inspired a lot of other artists that they could actually do it.

I would imagine that Bob Marley was influenced by Desmond Dekker.

In the scheme of things, he is very important.


Because songs like Israelites became so popular we regard them as classic pop songs, but they were very political in their time - they were talking about the conditions that people were finding themselves in.

He was still touring, and was just about to go on tour.

You mention Desmond Dekker and people say, 'Who?' Then you sing the songs and they go, 'Yes, I know that.'
Brinsley Forde
I think there were a lot of young people who were getting into his music.

The last time I saw him perform live would have been a few years ago, and he was absolutely incredible.

He was up and down the stage like nobody's business - I was actually quite shocked at his energy.

He was still commanding the audience - half of them probably weren't born when those songs were popular, and they were totally into him.


People I have spoken to since his death, you mention Desmond Dekker and they say, 'Who?' Then you start singing the songs and they go, 'Yes, I know that song'.

The work that he has left will live on for years and years.

There is great wealth of musicians and artists that we listen to now but don't recognise that they listened to Desmond Dekker's music and were influenced by it.

It may never fully be recognised and appreciated, but I am sure he has done a great service for music.


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