Winston Grennan's Cancer Struggle
Winston Grennan passed away at his home in Nantucket, Massachusetts,
from cancer related complications on Oct, 27, 2000. He was 56.
His career spans four decades of music and work with hundreds
of artistes, thousands of songs, including many, many hits, especially
in Jamaica and the US. Genres include rock steady, ska, reggae,
jazz, R&B and rock. Winston invented and perfected the "One
Drop" reggae ryhthm which changed the world forever and
propelled reggae music to the masses.
Winston was a husband, father and friend to many and will be
sadly missed. He touched literally millions of people with his
music. "I AM music", he used to say, and it was the
truth. He wishes that his music live on, and that his extensive
body of work continue to be exposed.
His website (winstongrennan.com) was never finished in his lifetime,
and will be used to that end. The medical fund that was established
has become The Winston Grennan Memorial Fund and will be used
for continuing to expose his vast musical endeavors, and to assist
his wife and his children with their music.
Donations can be sent to:
The Winston Grennan Memorial Fund
PO Box 3094, Nantucket, MA 02584
Winston Grennan was diagnosed earlier this year with metastatic
lung cancer, which spread to bones in his spine. He had been
the picture of health his whole life until now. He is the drummer
on so many classic reggae, rock steady, and even ska albums,
including The Harder they Come (every track), and on countless
other tracks from early Bob Marley, Toots and the Maytals, The
Paragons, Jimmy Cliff and literally hundreds of reggae albums
and hits, from all the great reggae artists of the 60's and 70's.
He also played with and for many other artists including Eric
Gale, Paul Simon (Mother and Child Reunion), Garland Jeffries,
Kid Creole and the coconuts and many world class jazz and R&B
artists in sessions in NY. Winston is an originator of the one
drop, and the drummer responsible for slowing down the rock steady
beat to the beat that made reggae as we know it.
Like many originators of music, unfortunately, Winston never
made the kind of money that a singer/writer or producer would
make off his music. Backing musicians, though they often help
to complete a song, are paid a flat fee, with no royalties. Hundreds
of records that Winston played on 30 or 35 years ago are still
being rereleased and selling well today. He had just released
his fifth solo album, 'Clean Slate", with his Ska Rocks
Band in March, on Niki Records.
" Anyone who really knows reggae will readily acknowledge
the massive and pioneering contributions that Winston has made
to the development of Jamaican music. It is by no means an exaggeration
to say that his work has significantly affected musicians in
many idioms and countries, and that without him, the current
face of world music, though recognizable, would be different.
If musical concepts and creativity could be copyrighted, Winston
Grennan would be an extremely wealthy man and ... if fame were
commensurate with talent and achievement, his condition would
be front page news. I have shared many bandstands with Winston
over the past fifteen years, and count the experiences as some
of the greatest highlights of my career."
"He is need of help from the community he has so immensely
enriched with not only his music but also his spirit. Treatment
can keep Mr. "G" in our musical midst for a long time
but it is extremely costly . We need to rally the troops and
come to the aid of one of our own." Coati Mundi
It is most unfortunate that help never reached in time. Our
deepest thanks to those who tried. We must have faith that the
Creator has taken Winston Home.
One Love and Jah Blessings,
Ellie Hiteshew Grennan