Don Cornell stage name of Luigi Francisco Varlaro (April 21, 1919 in New York City - February 23, 2004 in Aventura, Florida) was a popular singer of the 1940s and 1950s.
Cornell got his start with trumpeter Red Nichols and big band leader Sammy Kaye before going solo. He sold over 50 million records. Among his hits were "It Isn't Fair," "I'm Yours," "I'll Walk Alone," and "Hold My Hand." In 1993, he was inducted into the Big Band Hall of Fame.
He died of advanced emphysema and diabetes.
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He died of advanced emphysema and diabetes. He re-recorded some old singles, and worked with The Specials for 1992's King of Kings's, which used hits from Dekker's musical heroes, including Derrick Morgan. Among his hits were "It Isn't Fair," "I'm Yours," "I'll Walk Alone," and "Hold My Hand." In 1993, he was inducted into the Big Band Hall of Fame. Only a single live album was released in the late 80s, but a new version of "The Israelites" reawakened public interest in 1990, following its use in a Maxell ad. He sold over 50 million records. In the early 80s, as the Two Tone movement died out, he saw his fortunes dwindle, and he declared bankruptcy in 1984. Cornell got his start with trumpeter Red Nichols and big band leader Sammy Kaye before going solo. Though Compass Point did not sell well, Dekker was still a popular live performer, and he toured with The Rumour.
Don Cornell stage name of Luigi Francisco Varlaro (April 21, 1919 in New York City - February 23, 2004 in Aventura, Florida) was a popular singer of the 1940s and 1950s. His next album was Compass Point, produced by Robert Palmer. His first single was "Israelites", a Top Ten Belgian hit, and was followed by "Please Don't Bend", Jimmy Cliff's "Many Rivers to Cross" and "Book of Rules". He recorded an album called Black & Dekker, which featured his previous hits backed by The Rumour, Graham Parker's backing band. At the end of the 1970s, Dekker signed with Stiff Records, a punk label linked with the Two-Tone movement, a fusion of punk and ska.
He was unable to follow its success, however, and did not chart in the UK for some time, also finding only a limited audience in Jamaica. His first hit with the pair was 1975's "Sing a Little Song", which was a British Top Ten. Dekker continued recording, but with only limited success, until he began working with the production duo Bruce Anthony in 1974. Among his best known releases of this period was "You Can Get It If You Really Want", written by Jimmy Cliff, which Dekker had not wanted to record but was convinced by Leslie Kong. Kong, whose production had been an instrumental part of both Dekker's and Cliff's careers, died in 1971, and both his protegé's were lost for a period before returning to music.
In the 1970s, Dekker spent most of his time touring and moved to the UK, where he continued to record. He also released "Problems" and "Pickney Gal", both of which were popular in Jamaica, but saw only limited success elsewhere. 1969 saw the release of "It Mek", which first saw only lukewarm success but was re-recorded and became a hit both in Jamaica and the UK. That same year saw the release of "Beautiful and Dangerous", "Writing on the Wall", "Music Like Dirt", "Bongo Girl" and "Shing a Ling".
He was the first Jamaican performer to enter US markets with pure Jamaican music, though he never repeated the feat. In 1968, Dekker's "The Israelites" was released, appearing on both the US and UK charts, eventually topping the latter and peaking in the Top Ten of the former. Many of the hits from this era came from his debut album, 007 (Shanty Town). His "Pretty Africa" is a long-standing favorite among his fans, and may be the earliest popular song promoting repatriation.
Dekker continued with songs along the same vein, such as "Rude Boy Train" and "Rudie Got Soul", as well as continuing with his previous themes of religion and morality in songs like "It's a Shame", "Wise Man", "Hey Grandma", "Unity", "It Pays", "Mother's Young Girl" and "Sabotage". "007 (Shanty Town)" was a Top 15 hit in the UK, and he toured the country with a posse of mods following him. The song established Dekker as a rude boy icon, and also became an established hero in the United Kingdom's mod scene. Dekker's own songs did not go to the extremes of many other popular tunes, though he did introduce lyrics which resonated with the rude boys, starting with one of his best-known songs, "007 (Shanty Town)".
In that year, however, he appeared on Derrick Morgan's "Tougher Than Tough", which helped begin a trend of popular songs glamourizing the violent rude boy culture. Until 1967, Dekker's songs were polite and conveyed respectable, mainstream messages. Dekker and the Howards recorded a number of hits, including "Parents", "Get Up Edina", "This Woman" and "Mount Zion". Dekker then recruited four brothers, Carl, Patrick, Clive and Barry Howard, who became his backing band, known as The Four Aces.
The song remains well-known among ska afficionados. It was "King of Ska", a rowdy and jubilant song on which Dekker was backed by The Cherrypies (also known as The Maytals). His fourth hit, however, made him into one of the island's biggest stars. "Honour Your Father and Mother" was a hit, and was followed by "Sinners Come Home" and "Labour for Learning", as well as a name change (from Desmond Dacres to Desmond Dekker).
Dekker's "Honour Your Father and Mother" was to be that song. With Morgan's suport, Dekker was signed but did not record until 1963, because Leslie Kong wanted to wait for the perfect song. Neither were impressed by his talents, and the young man moved on to Leslie Kong's Beverley record label, where he auditioned before Derrick Morgan, then the label's biggest star. In 1961, he auditioned for Coxsone Dodd (Studio One) and Duke Reid (Treasure Isle).
Dekker began working as a welder, singing around his workplace while his coworkers encouraged him. He was born in Kingston in 1941, and became an orphan as a teenager. Before the ascent of Bob Marley, Desmond Dekker was the most well-known Jamaican musician outside of his country, and one of the most popular within it. Other hits include "007 (Shanty Town)" (1967), "It Mek" (1968), "The Israelites" and "You Can Get It If You Really Want".
Together with his backing group, The Aces (consisting of Wilson James and Easton Barrington Howard), he had the first international Jamaican hit with "Israelites". Desmond Dekker (born Desmond Dacres in Kingston, Jamaica on July 16, 1941) is a ska and reggae singer and songwriter.