Headley Bennett

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Headley Bennett
Birth name Felix Headley Bennett
Also known as Deadly Headley
Born (1931-05-29)29 May 1931
Kingston, Jamaica
Died (aged 85)
Instruments Saxophone
Years active Late 1950s–2016
Associated acts The Sheiks
Lynn Taitt and the Jets
The Mighty Vikings
The Revolutionaries

Felix Headley Bennett OD (29 May 1931 – 21 August 2016),[1] also known as Deadly Headley, was a Jamaican saxophonist who performed on hundreds of recordings since the 1950s.


Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Bennett attended the Alpha Boys School from the age of five, where he learned to play the saxophone.[2] He left aged fifteen and worked as a musician for a while in Canada before returning to Jamaica.[2] Since the 1960s, Bennett has worked as a session musician in Jamaica, playing in the Studio One house band as well as in Lynn Taitt's band The Jets, The Mighty Vikings, and in The Revolutionaries.[2][3][4] In 1962, as a member of The Sheiks, he performed at Palisadoes Airport to greet Princess Margaret on her visit to the island to mark Jamaica's independence.[5] In the ska era of the late 1950s and 1960s he played on many recordings for a variety of studios including Bob Marley's first recording, "Judge Not" for Leslie Kong, and Derrick & Patsy's "Housewives Choice".[5][6] He went on to record with The Abyssinians, Alton Ellis, and Prince Far I among many others.[2] In the late 1960s he moved to Canada, returning to Jamaica in 1977.[5]

While the majority of his recordings have been as a session musician, he has released two albums where he is credited as the main artist. In the late 1970s he released an album of instrumental versions of soul ballads with Ossie Scott, Deadly Headly Bennett Meets The Magnificent Ossie Scott, and in 1981 he recorded 35 Years From Alpha with producer Adrian Sherwood, released in 1982 and reissued in 1999.[2]

In 2005, aged 74, Bennet was awarded the Order of Distinction in the rank of Officer for his contribution to the development of music by the Jamaican government.[7]

In 2013, suffering from back and prostate problems, he was reported to be in financial difficulties due to mounting medical bills.[8]

Bennet died on 21 August 2016, having recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer.[9][10][11]

Album discography[edit]

  • Deadly Headly Bennett Meets The Magnificent Ossie Scott (197?), Carl's/Gorgon – with Ossie Scott
  • 35 Years From Alpha (1982), On-U Sound


  1. ^ "Headley Bennett, ska and reggae saxophonist – obituary". telegraph.co.uk. The Daily Telegraph. 14 September 2016. Retrieved 14 September 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Moskowitz, p. 26
  3. ^ Larkin, p.249
  4. ^ Larkin, p. 288
  5. ^ a b c Campbell
  6. ^ Barrow, p.35
  7. ^ "People: Sylvester Stallone, Headley Bennett, ABBA", New York Times, 18 October 2005, retrieved 6 December 2009
  8. ^ Campbell-Livingston, Cecelia (2013) "Hard Times Hit Headley", Jamaica Observer, 27 February 2013. Retrieved 18 March 2013
  9. ^ Headley Bennett, sax player on Bob Marley's first song, dies[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ "Headley Bennett, sax player on Bob Marley's first song, dies". U.S. News. 22 August 2016. Retrieved 2016-08-23. 
  11. ^ "Headley Bennett, Sax Player On Bob Marley's First Song 'Judge Not', Dies at 85", Billboard.com, 23 August 2016. Retrieved 23 August 2016


External links[edit]