Jamaican Singer And Producer Lee Scratch Perry Passes Away At 85
Considered one of the pioneers and founding fathers of reggae, Jamaican reggae legend Lee Scratch Perry passed away on Sunday at the age of 85. Perry was well known for his unique studio techniques and production style as a Jamaican record producer and singer.
Lee Scratch Perry was a pioneer in the birth of dub music in the 1970s with his unusual use of remixing and studio effects to produce new versions of both instrumental and vocal reggae tracks. Born as Rainford Hugh Perry, he began his career in the late 1950s and produced more than a thousand recordings in over 60 years and worked with other big artists such as Bob Marley and the Wailers, Junior Murvin, Max Romeo, The Clash, Beastie Boys, and Paul McCartney.
Perry died at a hospital located in Montego Bay, Jamaica, according to a statement released by Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness. “His innovative nature led him to become one of the greatest remixing and studio effects guru,” said Holness. “Undoubtedly, Lee Scratch Perry will always be remembered for his sterling contribution to the music fraternity. May his soul Rest In Peace.”
If it wasn’t for Lee Scratch Perry, reggae music would not be what it is today as he reshaped and greatly impacted its music and culture. Perry revolutionized the genre by remixing, stripping, and flipping songs down to their rhythm tracks and rebuilt them using samples of sound effects (e.g., animal sounds, broken glass) along with strange echoes and reverb effects to create sonically hallucinogenic music later known as the “Dub” music genre.
“The studio must be like a living thing, a life itself,” Perry once said. “The machine must be live and intelligent. Then I put my mind into the machine and the machine performs reality. Invisible thought waves; you put them into the machine by sending them through the controls.”
Some other accolades of Lee “Scratch” Perry include winning Best Reggae Album at the Annual Grammy Awards for his album Jamaican E.T. (2002) as well as nominations for The End of an American Dream (2007), Repentance (2008), Revelation (2010), and Back on the Controls (2014). Perry also earned the Order of Distinction, a national order in the Jamaican honours system.
Rest in peace, Scratch.