Ernest Wilson, a founding member of the “Clarendonians“, died on Tuesday at the Kingston Public Hospital, his son Michael Wilson confirmed to the press. He was 69 and would have celebrated his 70th birthday this month on the 18th.
ERNEST WILSON (1952 – NOVEMBER 2, 2021)
Ernest Wilson, born Fitzroy Ernest Wilson at a place called Hayes in the parish of Clarendon, Jamaica, rose to fame as a member of the Clarendonians before working as a solo artist. While still in their teens, he formed the Clarendonians in 1963 with Peter Austin. The duo went on to become one of the most popular groups of the ska and rocksteady era and had several Jamaican number one hits between 1965 and 1967. Wilson embarked on a solo career in 1967, releasing the “Money Worries” single. Further singles followed, with the brilliant “Undying Love”, “Story Book Children”, and the cover song “If I Were a Carpenter” in 1968 (all produced by Coxsone Dodd), “Private Number” (for Joe Gibbs), and in 1969 “Freedom Train” (for Lee “Scratch” Perry) – one of the first Jamaican singles ever to be released in stereo.
One of the most successful ska and early reggae groups in Jamaica, they were together for a short span of time, but delivered hits such as “You Won’t See Me”, “You Can’t Be Happy”, “Rudie Bam Bam”, “Rude Boy Gone A Jail” and “Sho-Be-Do I Love You”.
The duo performed with Freddie McGregor when it was suggested by record producer Clement ‘Sir Coxsone’ Dodd that they do so. A powerhouse singer, McGregor, nicknamed ‘Little Freddie’ at the time, was just seven years old. Dodd even paired Freddy McGregor with Ernest Wilson as ‘Fitzy and Freddy’ on the hit single “Why Did You Do It”.
DIFFERENT PRODUCERS, SEVERAL HITS
Ernest Wilson continued to perform as a soloist following the disbanding of the Clarendonians. He briefly worked with the Techniques under the name King Shark. In 1992, he released the album “Undying Love” in 2007, “Still Love You” and in 2010, two albums — “Amazing” and “Timeless Classics”.
He released dozens of singles and compilations, most of them hits, including the big tune “I Know Myself”. Some of his notable albums include:
STILL LOVE YOU
Ernest Wilson recorded most of his works at Channel one and Techniques for producers Clement “Coxsone’ Dodd and Winston Riley respectively. His latest release was the single “I’m Back on my Feet” in March of this year.