Lee 'Scratch' Perry dies at 85
Reggae artist, producer and dub pioneer Lee "Scratch" Perry has died at 85.
Perry died on Sunday at Noel Holmes Hospital, in Lucea, Jamaica, the Jamaica Observer reported.
Andrew Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica, shared condolences to Perry's loved ones on Sunday morning via Twitter.
"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," the politician said in a series of tweets. "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 [artists], 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."
Perry was born Rainford Hugh Perry in Jamaica in 1936. He started off his music career on the studio side in the late 1950s, and early 1960s, before releasing a host of influential music under his own name, and various pseudonyms starting in the late 1960s. He named his house band, The Upsetters after releasing the song, "I Am the Upsetter," and forming his Upsetters record label.
He released albums as Lee "Scratch" Perry & The Upsetters, including 1972's Cloak & Dagger, 1973's Blackboard Jungle Dub, and Super Ape in 1976.
Perry was well-known for his work with, and influence on Bob Marley & the Wailers.
"He wasn't doing reggae then," Perry told the Guardian about how he came to work with Marley. "He was working with a producer who wanted him to be like Otis Redding; he wasn't a bad man but was holding Bob back. I wasn't really interested in working with another singer, but he'd heard that people loved me in England and in America and maybe he wanted to share a bit of that. He wanted to be loved and respected like me, so it worked."
Perry was a sought-after producer and songwriter and worked with a host of artists over the years, including The Clash, Beastie Boys, Andrew W.K., and Linda and Paul McCartney on her 1998 LP Wide Prairie.
He famously wrote a letter to the Minister of Justice in Japan, in support of Paul, after the former Beatle was found with 7.7 ounces of cannabis.
Throughout the course of his career, he was nominated for five Grammys, winning one for Best Reggae Album for Jamaican E.T. in 2003.
At 80, the Guardian asked him to name some of his favorite work over the years.
"I have several special records. [George Faith's] To Be a Lover, "Jah Live," "Duppy Conqueror," "Inspector Gadget," "Sun Is Shining," he said at the time. "I'm a good man. If you come and see me, you'll see what happens."
Perry continued to make and perform music up until his death. He had a date scheduled to perform in London this coming November.