Monday, October 25, 2010

Gregory Isaacs Crosses His Final Border

Reggae lost a major recording icon on October 25 as Gregory Isaacs passed away from lung cancer, he was 59.

Isaacs had a prolific career spanning four decades and his "Cool Ruler" vocal style influenced scores of Jamaican and international singers. Along with Dennis Brown and Bob Marley, Isaacs was truly a reggae giant. He will be greatly missed. 

It would be wrong to remember Gregory Isaacs as merely a soft-voiced romantic crooner -- he tackled social issues as often as love themes. "Set The Captives Free," "Universal Tribulation," "Slave Master," and "The Border" are all well known Isaacs originals that eloquently address physical oppression, poverty, striving... for a better Jamaica and spiritual redemption. Sure, "Night Nurse" was his signature song, but Isaacs was more than just the Cool Ruler, he was also nobody's fool

Jamaican Observer: Tributes Pour In

NPR Obituary and audio.

From VP Record's press release announcement:

(VP RECORDS, NEW YORK)  - The reggae community mourns the loss of one of its legends, Gregory Isaacs. Best known for his lovers' rock anthems, the versatile and velvet-voiced crooner was recognized by the international masses for his talent and contribution to music for decades, and remains an icon for the genre.

Isaacs was born on July 15, 1951 in Kingston, Jamaica and gained appeal and acclaim in the 1970s and 1980s for hits such as "Night Nurse" and "Rumors." Nicknamed the 'Cool Ruler' by his fans, Isaacs pioneered his own sound by fusing traditional reggae with dancehall, thereby reinventing the genre and expanding its global fan base into what it is today. 

"Gregory Isaacs leaves behind an iconic history and catalog that is unparalleled," reveals VP Records CEO, Christopher Chin. "He devoted his entire life to music and his memory will forever live on with us - through his music and the legacy he leaves behind."

Isaacs fought a year-long battle with lung cancer before passing away on October 25, 2010 at his home in London, at the age of 59. Condolences and prayers go out to his family and loved ones during this trying time.