Desmond Dekker & The Aces hit #1 in the UK

Desmond Dekker (16 July 1941 – 25 May 2006) was a Jamaican ska, rocksteady and reggae singer-songwriter and musician. Together with his backing group, the Aces (consisting of Wilson James and Easton Barrington Howard), he had one of the earliest international reggae hits with “Israelites” (1968). Other hits include “007 (Shanty Town)” (1967), “It Mek” (1969) and “You Can Get It If You Really Want” (1970).

“Israelites”, written by Desmond Dekker and Leslie Kong, reached number 1 on the UK Charts on this day in April, 1969. Although few could understand all the lyrics, the single was the first UK ska number one and among the first to reach the US top ten. It combined the Rastafarian religion with rude boy concerns, to make what has been described as a “timeless masterpiece that knew no boundaries”.

B-Side: “My Precious World (The Man)” by Beverley’s All Stars
Released: October 1968
Recorded: 1968
Genre: Ska
Length: 2:35
Label: Pyramid Records – PYR 6058 (UK); Uni Records 55129 (USA)
Writer(s): Desmond Dekker and Leslie Kong
Producer(s): Leslie Kong

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