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Winston Grennan


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 ( 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."
Andy Bassford
"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

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