Lee “Scratch” Perry, the legendary Jamaican producer and a pioneer of dub, has died. He was 85.
Perry, whose pioneering accomplishments made him of of reggae’s most eccentric producer-vocalist, died Sunday on the Noel Holmes Hospital in western Jamaica, based on the Jamaican Observer. A reason for loss of life was not supplied at press time.
Jamaica Prime Minister Andrew Holness confirmed the information in a tweet on Sunday.
“My deep condolences to the household, mates, and followers of legendary document producer and singer, Rainford Hugh Perry OD, affectionately referred to as ‘Lee Scratch’ Perry,” Holness wrote. “He has labored with and produced for numerous artistes, together with Bob Marley and the Wailers, the Congos, Adrian Sherwood, the Beastie Boys, and plenty of others. Undoubtedly, Lee Scratch Perry will at all times be remembered for his sterling contribution to the music fraternity. Could his soul Relaxation In Peace.”
Perry, whose actual title was Rainford Hugh Perry, was born in rural Jamaica in 1936. His profession in music started within the late Fifties when he was employed by Clement “Coxsone” Dodd at Jamaica’s famed Studio One, the place he acquired his begin in producing music. After splitting with Dodd, Perry joined Joe Gibbs’ Amalgamated Information and continued producing whereas additionally engaged on his personal music profession. Perry would later go on to kind his personal label, Upsetter Information, a nod to his 1968 single “The Upsetter.”
By the early Nineteen Seventies, Perry had constructed his legendary Black Ark studio in Kingston, which turned the birthplace for a lot of basic reggae and dub recordings by Bob Marley & The Wailers, The Congos, Max Romeo and Junior Murvin. Together with his backing band The Upsetters, Perry additionally launched such influential albums as Blackboard Jungle (1973) and Tremendous Ape (1976), in addition to his solo launch, Roast Fish Collie Weed & Corn Bread (1978). In 2003, he received a greatest reggae album Grammy Award for Jamaican E.T.
Perry’s work on Romeo’s Warfare Ina Babylon, The Heptones’ Get together Time, The Congos’ Coronary heart of the Congos and Murvin’s Police & Thieves helped push reggae to new worldwide ranges within the late Nineteen Seventies. After masking “Police & Thieves” on their 1977 self-titled debut album, The Conflict labored with Perry as their producer in London. Impressed by the punk scene, Perry co-wrote “Punky Reggae Get together” for Marley.
Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards as soon as referred to Perry because the “Salvador Dali of music.”
“You possibly can by no means put your finger on Lee Perry — he’s the Salvador Dali of music,” Richards advised Rolling Stone in 2010. “He’s a thriller. The world is his instrument. You simply need to hear. Greater than a producer, he is aware of how one can encourage the artist’s soul. Like Phil Spector, he has a present of not solely listening to sounds that come from nowhere else, but in addition translating these sounds to the musicians. Scratch is a shaman.”
Later in life, after struggling a psychological breakdown and allegedly burning down Black Ark Studio studio in 1983, Perry moved to England and the US earlier than settling along with his household in Switzerland. Over the subsequent a number of a long time, he continued releasing music and collaborating with artists just like the Beastie Boys, Mad Professor, The Orb and Adrian Sherwood. In 2019, Perry launched the albums Rainford and Heavy Rain, the latter of which peaked at No. 1 on Billboard’s Reggae Albums chart.
This story first appeared on Billboard.com.