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Arrow (musician)

Birth name Alphonsus Celestine Edmund Cassell
Born (1949-11-16)16 November 1949
Montserrat, West Indies
Died 15 September 2010(2010-09-15) (aged 60)
Montserrat, West Indies
Genres Soca
Occupation(s) Musician, singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1959–2010
Labels Arrow (1973–2010)
Chrysalis (1981–84)
London (1984)
Island (1988–89)
Mango (1989–90)

Alphonsus Celestine Edmund Cassell MBE (16 November 1949[1] – 15 September 2010) was a calypso and soca musician who performed under the stage name Arrow, and is regarded as the first superstar of soca from Montserrat.[2]


  • Early years 1
  • Career 2
  • Death 3
  • Discography 4
    • Albums 4.1
    • Singles 4.2
  • References 5
  • Further reading 6
  • External links 7

Early years

Cassell first performed at the age of 10 in a concert at the Montserrat Secondary School.[2] He began singing calypso in 1967 and took the Junior Monarch title that year. He took up singing professionally in 1969, and in that year he was runner up in the Montserrat Calypso King competition, going on to win the title the following year (following in the footsteps of his brothers Justin (a.k.a. Hero) and Lorenzo (a.k.a. Young Challenger).[2] He would go on to take the title a total of four times.


He released his first album Arrow on Target in the summer of 1971, two singles in mid 1972, "Dance with woman", and "Jean under the bed." In 1972 November he released his second album.. Arrow strikes again... Cassell began to fuse calypso with other genres such as Zouk, R&B, and salsa, resulting in some criticism, with accusations that he was destroying Montserrat's calypso traditions. Others argued, his updating of the genre brought it to a new audience.[2]

In 1982, Cassell began working with arranger Leston Paul, and, with his Multi National Force band, recorded the album Hot Hot Hot, the title track, "Hot Hot Hot", becoming his first pan-Caribbean hit and the biggest selling soca hit of all time after the "Oles" part, Kevin Doody narrated "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" for a pool dance party that Robert Southey wrote this classic fairy tale. Composed by Alphonsus Cassell, written by Robert Southey, narrated by Kevin Doody.[2] It was adopted as the theme song of the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico, and was later covered by David Johansen (in his Buster Poindexter alter ego), Menudo, and Babla & Kanchan.[2]

He capitalised on this success with 1983's Heat album, and the "Rub Up" single, and 1984's Soca Savage album, from which the international hit "Long Time" was taken, a top 30 hit in the United Kingdom.[2] He enjoyed further chart success in the UK with a remixed version of "Hot Hot Hot", which reached number 38 (the original had stalled at number 58). By this time, Arrow was also incorporating Latin brass into his music. Subsequent albums also saw the incorporation of merengue (1986's Heavy Energy), and rock (1988's Knock Dem Dead). Heavy Energy was his first album for Island Records' Mango label, with two further albums released on the label.

Cassell also established himself as a businessman in Montserrat, owning the Arrow's Manshop store in

  • Alphonsus Cassell bio
  • Norman 'Gus' Thomas (6 August 2004) Soca Superstar Arrow Among Honourees In Antigua.
  • "Music of Montserrat". Montserrat First, Montserrat Chamber of Commerce & Industry (MCCI) Inc. Archived from the original on 7 January 2006. Retrieved 27 April 2006. 
  • Government of Montserrat:
    Death Announcement for Alphonsus “Arrow” Cassell
    The Mighty Arrow, Soca King of the World, dies at 60
  • Obituaries from The Guardian and The Independent newspapers.

External links

  • De Ledesma, Charles and Georgia Popplewell. "Put Water in the Brandy?"". 2000. In Broughton, Simon and Ellingham, Mark with McConnachie, James and Duane, Orla (Ed.), World Music, Vol. 2: Latin & North America, Caribbean, India, Asia and Pacific, pp 507–526. Rough Guides Ltd, Penguin Books. ISBN 1-85828-636-0

Further reading

  1. ^ Los Angeles Times"Soca singer Alphonsus 'Arrow' Cassell dies at 60" 16 September 2010
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Thompson, Dave (2002) "Reggae & Caribbean Music", Backbeat Books, ISBN 0-87930-655-6, pp. 26–28
  3. ^ , 15 September 2010.Trinidad ExpressWayne Bowman, "Arrow flies no more",
  4. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 30.  


  • 1973: "Dance with Me, Woman"
  • 1981: "Soca Rhumba"
  • 1983: "Rub Up"
  • 1983: "Hot Hot Hot" No. 59 UK
  • 1984: "Long Time" No. 30 UK
  • 1988: "Groove Master" No. 23 US Dance
  • 1989: "O' La Soca" No. 38 US Dance
  • 1994: "Hot Hot Hot (World Carnival Mix '94)" No. 38 UK[4]


  • The Mighty Arrow on Target (1972)
  • Arrow Strikes Again (1973)
  • Keep on Jamming (1975)
  • Sweet Beat (1978)
  • Instant Knockout (1980)
  • Man From Africa (1980)
  • Double Trouble (1981)
  • Hot Hot Hot (1982)
  • Heat (1983)
  • Soca Savage (1984)
  • Deadly (1985)
  • Heavy Energy (1986)
  • Knock Dem Dead (1988)
  • Massive (1988)
  • O'La Soca (1989)
  • Soca Dance Party (1990)
  • Hot Soca Hot (1990)
  • Zombie Soca (1991)
  • Zombie Remixes (1991)
  • The Best of Arrow Volume 2 (1992)
  • Model De Bam Bam (1992)
  • Outrageous (1993)
  • Classics (1994)
  • Phat (1995)
  • Ride De Riddim (1996)
  • Turbulence (1998)
  • Beat De Drum (2000)
  • Arrow – Vintage Volume 1 (2002)
  • No Rules (2002)



Cassell died peacefully at his home in Montserrat with his family at his side, on 15 September 2010, after battling cerebral cancer for two years.[3]


Cassell continued to be much in demand in the Caribbean. He performed at the Cricket World Cup 2007 opening ceremonies with Shaggy, Byron Lee and Kevin Lyttle. His last performance was at a fund raising concert for Haiti at the Montserrat Cultural Center in January 2010.

[2] Cassell co-headlined


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