LEE “SCRATCH” PERRY DIES AT 85

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LEE “SCRATCH” PERRY TRANSITION

JAMAICAN reggae legend “Lee Scratch Perry” has passed away at the age of 85.  He passed away at the Noel Holmes Hospital in Lucea, Jamaica.

Image courtesy of bandonthewall.org

CONDOLENCES GALORE

Rainford Hugh Perry was born on 20 March 1936 in Kendal, Jamaica, in the parish of Hanover.   Perry has worked with and produced for various artists, including Bob Marley and the Wailers, the Congos, Adrian Sherwood, the Beastie Boys, and many others.

Jamaica’s prime minister Andrew Holness tweeted of the artist’s passing: “My deep condolences to the family, friends, and fans of legendary record producer and singer, Rainford Hugh Perry OD, affectionately known as ‘Lee Scratch‘ Perry.” Many more players in the reggae industry relayed their condolences to family, friends and fans of the Legendary producer.

Among those who have conveyed their messages of condolence are radio station managers, print editors and hundreds of musicians worldwide, some of whom he had a working relationship with. Music streaming platform Spotify that offers digital copyright restricted music has also paid tribute to the Legend.

Lee Perry was a pioneer in the 1970s’ development of dub music.  With his early adoption of studio effects, Lee Perry created new instrumentals of existing reggae tracks.

He has worked with and produced for various artists, including Bob Marley and the Wailers, the Congos, Adrian Sherwood, The Beastie Boys, and many others.

BEST REGGAE ALBUM GRAMMY AWARD

During his glittering career, He won a Grammy for Best Reggae Album in 2002 and went on to earn four more nominations,  in the same category.

With his studio band The Upsetters, He put out countless albums over the last 50 years solo, as well as with other artists. Lee’s latest song, No Bloody Friends, came out just a couple of weeks prior to his death.

EARLY MUSICAL JOURNEY

Perry’s musical career began in the late 1950s as a record seller for Clement Coxsone Dodd‘s sound system. As his sometimes turbulent relationship with Dodd developed, he found himself performing a variety of important tasks at Dodd’s Studio One hit factory. He went on to record nearly thirty songs for the label. Disagreements between the pair due to personality and financial conflicts led Perry to leave the studio and seek new musical outlets. He soon found a new home at Joe Gibbs‘s Amalgamated Records.

Image courtesy of United Reggae.

Working with Gibbs, Perry continued his recording career but, once again, financial problems caused conflict. Perry broke ranks with Gibbs and formed his own label, Upsetter Records, in 1968.

THE BLACK ARK

In 1973, Perry built a studio in his back yard, the Black Ark, to have more control over his productions.  He continued to produce notable musicians such as Bob Marley and the WailersJunior BylesJunior Murvinthe Heptonesthe Congos and Max Romeo. He also started the Black Art label, on which many of the productions from the studio appeared.

Lee Perry had a particular sound and everybody was fascinated by his sound. However, by 1978, stress and unwanted outside influences began to take their toll and both Perry and the Black Ark quickly fell into a state of disrepair. Eventually, the studio burned to the ground. Perry has constantly insisted that he burned the Black Ark himself in a fit of rage.

Lee “Scratch Perry” Perry produced more than 70 albums and also got involved in many compilations. Though he has gone, his legacy lives on through his music.

 

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