His starting in the showbusiness was leading rhythm and blues & ska bands in the 60’s like The Bees, The Seven Letters and The Pyramids but the success came with Symarip in 1969 selling over 7 millions of copies with the ‘Skinhead Moonstomp’ album for Trojan Records, introducing the Reggae sounds in UK and the rest of Europe.
Up to date he’s still the artist who has sold the biggest number of records in Trojan Records, even more than others like Bob Marley or Jimmy Cliff.
Roy Ellis, also known as Mr. Symarip, was borned in Kingston, Jamaica, from mother Jamaican and American father. He was already brilliant as a ten-years old solo singer in the Children Gospel choir in the Baptist Church in Kingston (Jamaica). In his school-days he developed a strong friendship with Jimmy Cliff, and also Bob Marley belonged to his circle of friends.
Later in the 60’s in England and central Europe he made himself with his giant voice an international name in the Ska, Reggae, Gospel, Blues, Soul scene. Roy Ellis was also the lead singer and song writer from one of the most famous British Ska, Reggae, Gospel, Blues, Soul, Funk band: The Pyramids / Symarip. During the 60’s he was one of the pioneers for the Ska and Reggae music in England and Middle Europe.
In 1966 he was discovered by the “Godfather of Ska”, Laurel Aitken, who wrote 2 songs: ‘Jesse James Rides Again’ and ‘Because I Love You’, and also produced a bunch of other hits for them.
In 1970 The documentary film “REGGAE” was flimed in the Wembley stadium. Roy Ellis interpreted the Ska & Reggae Music and also Gospel songs in Reggae style. And in 1971 sang Roy Ellis his blues-characteristic compositions ‘See you later’ and ‘To Father’, in the film ‘Warm December’, the star performer was the magnificent film actor Sidney Poitier.
And just after hitting the charts with Symarip he decided to dedicate his carrer to gospel and soul music leaving the Reggae scene for about twenty years. Since 1980 Roy Ellis lived in Switzerland holding the Swiss nationality.
We strongly recommend to read his biography on his own website.