Reggae giant Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry dies at 85

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Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, the great reggae singer, producer, and studio magician who pushed the boundaries of Jamaican music, has died today at 85 years old old.

The Jamaican media reports that the musician has passed away in a Lucea hospital, north of the country, but the cause of death has not been disclosed. Among the numerous samples of support sent to his relatives, the one of the prime minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness. “My condolences to the family, friends and fans of legendary record producer and singer Rainford Hugh Perry OD, affectionately known as ‘Lee Scratch’ Perry. He worked and produced for various artists, such as Bob Marley and the Wailers, the Congos, Adrian Sherwood, the Beastie Boys and many others, ”the president tweeted.

Authentic pioneer of the genre and with seven decades of musical career behind his back, his first sounds they were later catapulted to world fame by Bob Marley. With his mystical air, he became one of the most unusual artists From jamaica. According to Rolling Stone magazine, Keith Richards once described him as “the Salvador Dalí of music. It’s a mystery. The world is your instrument. You just have to listen.

Perry was born in 1936 in Hanover, in northwestern Jamaica, and he soon stopped going to school. “There was nothing to do except work in the fields, so I started playing dominoes and learned to read the minds of others,” he said at the time.

In the late fifties, it was hired by Clement ‘Coxsone’ Dodd, head of reggae studio and record label Studio One, as an assistant, then as a talent scout, DJ, store manager, and finally recording artist. He earned the nickname Scratch for one of his first recordings, ‘The Chicken Scratch’, in 1965. A year later he broke up with Coxone and, two years later, he would produce a song for The Pioneers with a new beat, ‘Long shot’. Many specialists point out that it is the first reggae in history.

In 1973, he built his own studio, the Black Ark. Years later, Paul and Linda McCartney they recorded two songs there. In 1980, Perry sent a letter to the Japanese justice minister after McCartney was arrested for carrying marijuana in his luggage. “Please do not consider the amount of weed excessive. The intentions of maestro Paul McCartney are positive,” he wrote according to The Guardian. Three years later, Perry burned the study convinced that he was possessed by demon spirits, but he continued to record music for the rest of his life.

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