sponsored by Gordon Polatnick's Big Apple Jazz Tours

FULLER UP HOME

GRIM REAPER PAGE

CAUSES OF DEATH

SEARCH BY NAME

GET IN TOUCH

Shameful  Disclaimer

     FULLER UP DEAD MUSICIAN DIRECTORY
a site about dead musicians and how they got that way

Alex Hughes
aka Judge Dread
March 13, 1998 AGE 53

 

Heart Attack On Stage
Obituary
Biography
Links
 


Thank MTV for this report

OBITUARY

Judge Dread Dead

One of the leaders of the ska/reggae revival popular in England in the seventies has died on stage in England. Judge Dread, a/k/a Alex Hughes and often billed as "The World's No. 1  Rude Boy," had just finished a performance at a theater Thursday (sic) night in Canterbury, England, when he collapsed.

England's Press Association news reports that the audience, used to Dread's reputation as a jokester, assumed it was part of the act until an off duty paramedic in the crowd realized the situation was serious and began administering CPR. Dread was pronounced dead on arrival to the hospital. The cause of death has not been determined, but a heart attack is suspected.

Although he was never overly successful in the States, Dread sold millions of records over his 20-year-plus career. He remained active, often touring Europe and issuing his songs on a variety of recent reggae and ska compilations.

Portly, graying, balding, white and over fifty, Hughes, a former DJ and Rolling Stones security guard, was hardly a boy even when he began his career, and by today's standards he wasn't overly rude. But when he hit the charts with "Dreadmania" in 1973, he and his peers were champions of risqué themes and songs about injustice and inequality. His records were banned by the BBC (from reaching thousands of entertainment centers across the country).

Just a few of his early albums included the aforementioned "Dreadmania" along with "Working  Class 'ero," (1974), "Bedtime Stories," (1975), "Last of the Skinheads," (1976), the hot-selling  "40 Big Ones" (1980), and "Not Guilty" (1984).

 

 


JAM/CANOE gets the credit for this reporting 

OBITUARY

Reggae singer dies after collapsing on stage

CANTERBURY, England (AP) -- Judge Dread, whose fusion of smutty lyrics and a reggae beat produced a pair of top 10 singles in Britain in the 1970s, has died after collapsing during a performance.

Dread was pronounced dead at the Kent and Canterbury hospital after collapsing Friday at the end of a show in Canterbury. Police said he appeared to have suffered a heart attack.

An obituary published today in The Times said he was 53. There was no information about survivors or funeral arrangements.

A burly, blond Englishman whose real name was Alex Hughes, Dread used Jamaican musicians in his band.

He had his first British hit in 1972 with "Big Six," which got as high as No. 11 during 27 weeks on the chart. He later had two songs in the top 10 -- "Big Seven" in 1972, and "Je T'aime (moi non plus)," a takeoff on the heavy-breathing record by Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin, in 1978.

         


Judge Dread  Biography

 

Real name Alex Hughes, Kent-born Judge Dread was a bouncer in London clubs at the end of the '60s and became familiar with reggae through his work, where he had run into (not literally) the likes of Derrick Morgan and Prince Buster. In 1969 Buster had a huge underground hit with the obscene Big 5, a version of Brook Benton's Rainy Night In Georgia. It was clear there was a yawning gap waiting to be filled when Buster failed to effectively follow his hit, so Alex Hughes, aka Judge Dread (a name borrowed from a Prince Buster character) plunged in. His first single, Big Six went to number 11 in 1972, and spent more than half the year in the charts. No-one heard it on air: it was a filthy nursery rhyme. Big Seven did better than Big Six, and from this point on Dread scored hits with Big Eight, a ridiculous version of Je T'Aime, and a string of other novelty reggae records, often co-penned by his friend, Fred Lemon. Incidentally, Big Six was also a hit in Jamaica. Five years and eleven hits later (including such musical delicacies as Y Viva Suspenders and Up With The Cock), the good-natured Hughes, one of just two acts to successfully combine music hall with reggae (the other was Count Prince Miller, whose Mule Train rivaled Dread for sheer chutzpah) had finally ground to a halt in chart terms. He can still be found occasionally working the clubs, and has also sought employment as a local newspaper columnist in Snodland, Kent.

 

This bio made possible by your friends at Music Central



Sponsors Links:

 Netflix

Big Apple Jazz Tours


 
FULLER UP
HOME
GRIM REAPER
PAGE
CAUSES OF
DEATH
SEARCH BY
NAME
GET IN
TOUCH
SHAMEFUL 
DISCLAIMER

 

    YOUTUBE


sponsored by Gordon Polatnick's Big Apple Jazz Tours

TOP