The Ethiopians

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The Ethiopians
Origin Jamaica
Genres Reggae, rocksteady, ska
Years active 1966–2011
Past members Stephen Taylor
Aston Morris
Melvin Reid
Leonard Dillon

The Ethiopians were a ska, rocksteady, and reggae vocal group, founded by Leonard Dillon (b. 9 December 1942, Port Antonio, Jamaica, d. 28 September 2011), Stephen Taylor and Aston Morris.[1]


The group started out recording for Clement 'Coxsone' Dodd in 1966. Dillon had previously released some mento songs under the pseudonym Jack Sparrow. Around late 1966, Morris left the Ethiopians. Having left Dodd, the Ethiopians started recording at Dynamic Studios for the W.I.R.L. label, releasing the rocksteady "Train to Skaville", which was their first success. In 1968, they recorded the song "Everything Crash", their first big hit. The song criticised the political situation in Jamaica at the time, such as water rationing and power cuts that led to unrest; such as an incident in which thirty one people were shot by the police.[citation needed] "Everything Crash" was later covered by Prince Buster. "The Whip" is another of their enduring songs from that period.

In 1969 they released the album, Reggae Power, and in 1970, Woman a Capture Man. Between 1970 and 1975, the Ethiopians switched from producer to producer, releasing songs such as "No Baptism", "Pirate", and "Good Ambition". Melvin Reid, who had joined the group after its founding, left in 1974. In September 1975, Taylor was struck by a van and killed. In 1977, Dillon's fellow Ethiopians members Bro Fatty, Bro Ewing, Bro T, Mello and Hychi Dread released the album Slave Call.

In 1991, Dillon recorded the solo album On the Road Again. Dillon re-formed the group with Jennifer Lara and Merlene Webber, and they released a new album, Tuffer Than Stone (1999).[2]

After developing a brain tumor, on 28 September 2011 Dillon died at his daughter's home in Kingston, Jamaica.[3][4]


  • Engine '54: Let's Ska and Rock Steady - (1968) - Jamaican Gold
  • Reggae Power - (1969)
  • Woman a Capture Man - (1970) - Trojan
  • Slave Call - (1977) - Heartbeat
  • Open The Gate Of Zion - (1978) - Channel One
  • Dread Prophecy - (1989) - Nighthawk
  • Let's Ska and Rock Steady - (1990) - VP Records
  • The World Goes Ska - (1992) - Trojan Records
  • Clap Your Hands - (1993) - Lagoon
  • Sir J.J. & Friends - (1993) - Lagoon
  • Owner Fer De Yard - (1994) - Heartbeat
  • Train to Skaville - (1999) - Charly
  • Tuffer Than Stone - (1999) - Warriors
  • Skaville Princess - (2000) - Dressed to Kill
  • Train to Skaville: Anthology 1966-1975 - (2002) - Trojan - compilation [1]


  1. ^ portal to Reggae music...(Biography [The Ethiopians])
  2. ^ allmusic ((( The Ethiopians > Biography )))
  3. ^ "Reggae pioneer Leonard Dillon dies". Retrieved 2012-05-11. 
  4. ^ Cecelia Campbell-Livingston (2011-09-29). "Leonard Dillon of the Ethiopians is dead". Jamaica Observer. Retrieved 2012-05-11. 

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