Legendary Jamaican record producer and singer Lee 'Scratch' Perry passed away on Sunday. He was 85. No cause of death has been given yet. Hailed by the music industry as a pioneer in the 1970s development of dub music, he died at the Noel Holmes Hospital in western Jamaica, the Jamaican Observer reported. The news of Perry's demise was confirmed by Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness on Twitter on Sunday. He wrote in a series of tweets, "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. Perry was a pioneer in the 1970s’ development of dub music with his early adoption of studio effects to create new instrumentals of existing reggae tracks. He has worked with and produced for various artistes, including Bob Marley and the Wailers, the Congos, Adrian Sherwood, the Beastie Boys, and many others. Undoubtedly, Lee Scratch Perry will always be remembered for his sterling contribution to the music fraternity. May his soul Rest In Peace."
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. pic.twitter.com/Eec2MEd6yC— Andrew Holness (@AndrewHolnessJM) August 29, 2021
Born in rural Jamaica in 1936, Perry, whose real name was Rainford Hugh Perry, began his career in the late 1950s, after getting hired by Clement "Coxsone" Dodd at Jamaica’s famed Studio One, where he kicked off producing music. He later collaborated with Joe Gibbs’ Amalgamated Records after moving away from Dodd and continued to produce before going on to form his own music label, Upsetter Records. Perry later built his own studio in the early 1970s, Black Ark Studio in Kingston, where he eventually recorded many iconic reggae and dub recordings by Bob Marley & The Wailers, Junior Murvin, Max Romeo and The Congos. He went on to release albums like Blackboard Jungle (1973) and Super Ape (1976) with his band The Upsetters, including his solo album, Roast Fish Collie Weed & Corn Bread (1978). He won a Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album for Jamaican E.T. in 2003.
Perry suffered a mental breakdown during the later stages of his life and allegedly burnt down his Black Ark Studio in 1983. He later moved to England and the United States before settling down in Switzerland with his family. The dub icon continued to associate with renowned artists like the Beastie Boys, Mad Professor, The Orb and Adrian Sherwood in the decades thereafter and released the albums Rainford and Heavy Rain, in 2019, with the latter taking the No. 1 position on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart.
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