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Winston Samuels 8/2017

Winston Samuels of Desmond Dekker and the AcesAugust 24, 2017 – Jamaican Ska Authentic Winston Samuels (McInnis), a living legend in Jamaican Music, was born in Kingston, Jamaica to proud parents Winston D. McInnis and Mavis Davis-McInnis in 1944.  From the time he was born he loved to sing.  As a matter of fact his mother, Mavis would have Sunday family discussions followed by songs of worship.  There was such harmony in the household that it drew other tenants who loved to listen to him.

He taught himself to play the piano and, in 1962, took on music full time becoming a household name in Jamaica with a series of hits including “Angela” and “You Are the One”. He was a household name in Jamaica from 1962 – 1969 before he migrated to the USA.  His recording career started with the legendary producer, Coxsone Dodd on the Downbeat label, where he recorded his first No. 1 hit “Angela” in 1964.  He then joined veteran producer L.O. Pottinger and recorded his biggest hits “You are the One” and “Be Prepared”.  His other popular songs included:  “Luck Will Come My Way”, “Here I wait”, “Here I Come Again”, “Can’t Hide” and “I am Still Here”.  In the Rock Steady era, he recorded “I’m the Greatest” on the original Studio One Label prior to leaving Jamaica in 1969.

Winston also became a member of the Four Aces, who would change their name to the Aces with Desmond Dekker out front. The group had numerous hits in Jamaica including their debut “007 (Shanty Town)” and became international stars in 1968 with the release of “Israelites” which went to number 1 in the U.K. and number 9 in the United States. The next year, they would reach the British top ten again with “It Mek”.
Samuels did not participate in the Dekker tours, refusing to fly. According to Winston “Rastas did not fly on iron birds”.
Winston later recorded as a soloist again, recording such songs as “Let’s Get It On” and “Lady Soul” in New York.

In 1969 Samuels moved to New York and studied Accounting, followed by working at ConEd in New York City until he left for Florida.  But that was not his calling.  He would rather be playing the piano, which he taught himself to play and writing his own music.  He was certainly one of the original contributors to Jamaica popular music.

Winston Samuels was known as a mentor to several upcoming artists who became name-brand names and all respected him for his honesty and integrity.  He was a class act and a sharp dresser and his nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews affectionately called him the “Ladies man.” Winston Samuels died on August 24, 2017 from kidney disease.

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