The Heptones

The Heptones live at Reggae Sunsplash in Montego Bay. (1991)

I had just heard today about Barry Lewellyn of the Heptones, his sweet voice will be missed. Below is an article from the Jamaica Observer.

‘Barry Heptones’ dies in hospital

BARRINGTON Llewellyn, founding member of the group Heptones is dead. He was 63.

According to Earl Morgan — founder of the trio — Llewellyn began complaining of not feeling well and was rushed to the University Hospital in St Andrew on Tuesday. He passed away at 3:15 a.m. the day after. No cause was given for his death.

The funeral is scheduled for Jamaica Association for Vintage Artistes and Affiliates (JAVAA) headquarters at 5-7 Hagley Park Road, Kingston 10 on Sunday, December 4.

Llewellyn, who would have celebrated his birthday on Christmas, is best remembered as the lead vocals in the 1973 hit song Book of Rules for Island. The song is based on an American poem called A Bag of Tools by RL Sharpe.

Morgan has fond memories of the group’s humble beginnings.

“I’m the group’s founder and owner of the name Heptones. The first person that joined me was Barry (Llewellyn),” Morgan recalled. “Glen Adams was a member before Leroy Sibbles, but he never stayed for long. He went and joined the Hippie Boys. Leroy — who was in another group with a female artiste — asked to join.”

Morgan said he attended Kingston Senior School with Llewellyn as well as other music stalwarts including Marcia Griffiths, Carl Dawkins and Derrick Morgan.

“Barry was a lively person who loved to party. He was a girl’s man and very popular among them,” Morgan continued.

Percussionist Bongo Herman remembers Llewellyn as a good person.

“The big tune that Barry (Llewellyn) do — Book of Rules — a me play the percussion. We all came from outta Trench Town weh dem used to call Ghost Town. He is a good yute and I have a lot of respect for him, a matter of fact, the whole group,” Herman said.

Singer Ken Boothe was at a lost for words. However, he said Llewellyn had made a notable contribution to the music. He expressed condolences to his family and love ones.

Started in 1965 in Kingston, Jamaican rocksteady and reggae trio got their name from Morgan, who saw it on a discarded bottle. The group produced a number of hit songs throughout the 1960s and 1970s which included: Fattie Fattie (1966); I’ve Got a Feeling (1966); Get In the Groove (1967); Equal Rights (1968); Ain’t Nobody Else (1968); Party Time (1966); Pretty Looks (1969); Our Day Will Come (1972); Mistry Babylon (1977); and, Sufferers’ Time (1978).

Leroy Sibbles left the trio in 1979 and migrated to Canada where he began a solo career. Sibbles was replaced with Naggo Morris and group continued to make music producing their last album — Rainbow Valley — in 2007.

Llewellyn is survived by his wife, Monica, and several children.

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