Jamaica’s legendary music producer Lee “Scratch” Perry, whose pioneering work with roots reggae and dub elevated the island’s worldwide reputation in the arts, died Sunday, aged 85.
Perry died in hospital in Lucea, northern Jamaica. No cause of death has yet been given. Prime Minister Andrew Holness sent “deep condolences” to Perry’s family.
The loping tempos of his work established the roots reggae sound that Bob Marley made world famous, while his dub production influenced post-punk, hip-hop, dance music and other genres. Perry also worked with many reggae icons as well as rock and pop legends in a glittering career.
Born Rainford Hugh Perry in the Hanover parish of north-west Jamaica in 1936, left school and soon after started working with Clement ‘Coxsone’ Dodd, head of reggae studio and label Studio One, as an assistant and eventually a recording artist.
Perry was married twice, first to Paulette Perry. They divorced in 1979, and then he married Mireille Ruegg. He met her in 1989 and later moved to Switzerland with Ruegg, with whom he had two children.