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Stanley was born February 17, 1942 in the parish of Portland. He was orphaned as a child and wound up living in Kingston. Taking a path that other Jamaican recording artists followed, he began singing in church, and then gained prominence by winning on the Vere Johns radio talent competition. Stanley recorded reggae as Stanley & The Turbines and in The Starlites. Although clearly reggae, his music had a tinge of mento, displaying a country sound, especially due to Stanley's mento style vocals. When the mento influence was stronger, his recordings could best be described as "mento-reggae".