Founder of Jamaica reggae, rocksteady trio dies

Barry Llewellyn founded the Heptones with Earl Morgan in the late 1950’s.

KINGSTON, Jamaica – One of the founders of a leading Jamaican reggae and rocksteady trio from the 1960s has died.

A bandmate says Barry Llewellyn of the Heptones died Wednesday at age 64. Lead singer Leroy Sibbles said Friday that Llewellyn died of unknown causes at Kingston Public Hospital.

Llewellyn founded the Heptones with Earl Morgan in the late 1950s. The group was considered highly influential during the island’s rocksteady era in the 1960s.

The Heptones reunited in the 1990s after a nearly 20-year absence during a worldwide ska and rocksteady revival.

The group comprising Llewellyn, Morgan and Leroy Sibbles produced a number of hit songs throughout the 1960s and 1970s which included: Fattie Fattie (1966); I’ve Got a Feeling (1966); Get In the Groove (1967); Equal Rights (1968); Ain’t Nobody Else (1968); Party Time (1966); Pretty Looks (1969); Our Day Will Come (1972); Mistry Babylon (1977); and, Sufferers’ Time (1978).

Leroy Sibbles left the trio in 1979 and migrated to Canada where he began a solo career. Sibbles was replaced with Naggo Morris and group continued to make music producing their last album — Rainbow Valley — in 2007.

Llewellyn is survived by his wife, Monica, and several children.

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