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Hopeton Lewis' rich baritone has had a profound impact on Jamaican music, and his mixture of gospel and soul elements helped set the template for early rocksteady. Born October 3, 1947, in Kingston, Lewis' mother died when he was two, and he rotated living with various aunts, uncles, and grandparents. By the age of six he was already singing in church, and singing is where he turned when he was left on his own at the age of 15. Lewis quickly formed his first singing group, the Regals, and his career course was set. Like many Jamaican singers, Lewis got his start at Studio One, but soon moved over to Ken Khouri's Federal Studios, where he recorded what is arguably the first rocksteady side, "Take It Easy," backed by Lynn Taitt & the Jets. The song was released on Winston Blake's Merritone label in 1966 and was a huge success. In the late '60s he worked as part of a duo with Glen Brown. His solo career really took off when he won the 1970 Festival Song Competition with the song "Boom Shacka Lacka," which he recorded for Duke Reid's Treasure Isle label, then moved over to Byron Lee's Dynamic Sound imprint for the album Groovin' Out on Life, which firmly established Lewis as an explosive singer and performer when it was released in 1973, followed quickly by a second album, The Dynamic Hopeton Lewis. Lewis started his own label, Bay City Music, in the late '80s and turned increasingly to gospel music, releasing This Is Gospel in 1996, followed by Reaching Out to Jesus in 2000. Since then Lewis stuck with gospel and has released a prolific series of albums, including Lay Your Hands on Me Jesus, Caribbean Gospel Jubilee, Inner Peace, Hopeton Lewis Sings Country Gospel, The Many Moods of Gospel, and The Inspirational Hopeton Lewis.
Hopeton Lewis (3 October 1947 – 4 September 2014) was a Jamaican singer.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Lewis sang in church from an early age and started performing as a youth, forming a singing group called the Regals. By the mid-1960s, he began recording and had one of the earliest rocksteady hits with "Take It Easy" in late 1966. The track was recorded with Lynn Taitt and the Jets and is regarded as one of the first rocksteady singles. He had several more Jamaican hits in the late 1960s and early 1970s, including the first 'herb' song ever recorded in Jamaica, "Cool Collie". He worked for Duke Reid as an arranger and backing vocalist, and won the Festival Song Contest in 1970 with "Boom Shaka Lacka". He began working as a singer with Byron Lee & the Dragonaires, and in 1971 had a hit with "Grooving Out On Life".
Lewis continued to release records, but his success after the early 1970s was limited. Lewis released This Is Gospel in 1996 on his own label, Bay City Music, founded in the 1980s. Much of his later work was in the gospel genre, including Reaching Out to Jesus (2000).
He lived the later period of his life in Brooklyn, New York, where he presented a show on Grace Deliverance Radio.
Lewis died on 4 September 2014 at his home in Brooklyn, aged 66, after suffering kidney failure.Allmusic.com biography - accessed August 2008 Larkin, Colin (1998) "The Virgin Encyclopedia of Reggae", Virgin Books, ISBN 0-7535-0242-9 Barrow, Steve & Dalton, Peter (2004) "The Rough Guide To Reggae", Rough Guides, ISBN 1-84353-329-4 "Unsung: Take It Easy with Hopeton Lewis", Jamaica Observer, 30 November 2012. Retrieved 1 December 2012 Campbell, Howard (2014) "Singer Hopeton Lewis is dead", Jamaica Observer, 5 September 2014. Retrieved 5 September 2014 Campbell, Howard (2014) "Hopeton Lewis Grooved on Life", Jamaica Observer, 7 September 2014. Retrieved 8 September 2014