His father died when Brown was four years old. He was brought up as a strictly Orthodox Jew, attending South London Jewish School (1924–30), before entering show business at the age of twelve, when he appeared in an acting role on the London stage. Ellington specialised in jazz but experimented with many other genres throughout the show's history and his musical style was heavily influenced by the comic jump blues of Louis Jordan. Ellington's band was one of the first in the U.K. to feature the stripped-back guitar/bass/drums/piano format that became the basis of rock and roll, as well as being one of the first groups in Britain to prominently feature the electric guitar.
They were also reputedly the very first jazz band in the U.K. to use an amplified guitar, which was produced and introduced by their guitar player, Lauderic Caton. Early in the Goon Show's run, there were many jokes linking Ellington to the African nation of Ghana, thus leading Ellington to say that he came from Ghana. He was married to Anita West, who was to become the second female presenter of the BBC children's series Blue Peter when she replaced Leila Williams, but she only lasted a few weeks in this role. The marriage ended in divorce. Ray's son Lance Ellington is a singer who has recorded several jazz orientated albums.
Lance Ellington also appeared in tributes to Peter Sellers and in the film The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, in which he played his father. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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