JAMAICAN music Pioneer Lee “Scratch” Perry is dead at 85

JAMAICAN music Pioneer Lee “Scratch” Perry  is dead at 85

MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica, August 29, 2021 - Jamaican music pioneer and grammy award winning artiste, Rainford Hugh Perry, OD,  affectionately referred to as Lee “Scratch Perry, died in the Noel Holmes Hospital in Lucea on Sunday morning. He was 85.

The much celebrated artiste/producer Perry who was born in Kendal, Hanover, was one of the founding fathers of Reggae, who made his name as an artiste and a producer of cutting-edge music by revolutionary artistes including Bob Marley and the Wailers.

His Upsetter label produced some of the greatest reggae songs, including Small Axe and Duppy Conqueror by the Wailers.

Perry, who recorded as an artiste in the late 1960s and 1970s, is popular throughout Europe and parts of the United States.

In 2003, he won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album entitled, Jamaican E T.

The Reggae pioneer has produced over one thousand recordings spanning sixty years earning him several names such as the “Upsetter”, “Super Ape” and “Mad Scientist”.

Perry was described as an eccentric character who reshaped the Reggae  landscape. He was loved by many across the world and was given the moniker "Scratch" from the name of an early song that he made for Clement "Coxone" Dodd's Studio One label entitled "Chicken Scratch,"  while the nickname "Upsetter," was derived from his 1967 single, "I Am The Upsetter" which was widely believed to be a slap at "Coxone" Dodd.

In reporting on Perry’s death the publication “Variety” described the legendary music producer as an ”eccentric revolutionary Jamaican producer performer whose influence extended far beyond his historic role in the development of Reggae music”

In extending a tribute to Perry, Prime Minister Andrew Holness expressed deep sadness at Perry’s  passing, characterizing him as a music pioneer and one of the founding fathers of Reggae.

“Undoubtedly, today Jamaica has lost the rhythm and soul of a prolific music icon who has inspired many. Lee “Scratch” Perry was truly one of the most important and creative figures to have come out of Jamaica,” Prime Minister Holness said.

Holness noted that “Perry was a pioneer in the development of dub music in the 1970s. His innovative nature led him to become one of the greatest remixing and studio effects guru; creating new instrumental or vocal versions of existing reggae tracks.”

“His unique approach to recording meant that he was responsible for some of  the greatest Reggae songs including, “Dreadlocks in Moonlight”, “Curly Locks”, "City Too Hot" and “I Am A Mad Man”. He has worked with many of Jamaica’s musical greats such as Bob Marley and the Wailers, Junior Murvin, the Congos and many more,” prime minister Holness said.

“Lee “Scratch” Perry has received several highly and internationally acclaimed awards such as the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album aptly titled “Jamaican E T” in 2004.

In commenting on his passing, well known Jamaican musicologist Clyde McKenzie said “Lee Scratch Perry created new realities in sound. In this regard he was a genius the likes of which we may never see again in the field of music.

His acoustic experimentations which gave us dub, and a number of its derivatives including dancehall, hip hop  hop and reggaeton have changed the global soundscape forever”.


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