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RIP Gregory Isaacs The Cool Ruler

Gregory Isaacs dies

Gregory Isaacs: 1951-2010
Reggae legend Gregory Isaacs has died after a battle with cancer.

Isaacs, who was 59 years old, died on Monday morning at his home in London where he spent part of his time.

He leaves behind a wife and children.

Close friends told BBC Caribbean that he had originally been diagnosed with cancer of the liver which had then spread.

The Jamaican reggae singer, who was nicknamed the Cool Ruler, was best known for the song 'Night Nurse'.


Was gonna do a thoughts for the day but nothing else can even level with this news. As a Jamaican, Gregory Isaacs is up there with Dennis Brown, Bob Marley, John Holt and Alton Ellis as an artist your parents have at least 4 dusty vinyls of. Although he didn't release many records over the past decade, he remained very active through touring. One of the best voices in reggae history. My grandma's favourite artist. She'd go to the record shop and ask for any new "Gregry". That's right without the 'o'. Unlike most of my peers, I regularly draw for my favourite Gregry songs, a couple of them posted below.

Best known for Night Nurse, which was covered by Simply Red and both the name of and featured on the advert for that sleeping stuff Night Nurse

Simply Red 'Night Nurse'

If I had to select my favourite tracks, they are between 'Soon Forward'. Wish I could have seen him when his voice sounded like this

And 'Tune In'

Also love Buju Banton 'Mr 9' and Warrior King's 'Never Go Where The Pagans Go' on this same riddim track.

Staple at every family party, 'Number One'

Was in cult classic Rockers

I-Wayne utilised this riddim well on 'Nah Draw Nil' from classic album Lava Ground

I doubt reggae artists are that bothered whether they get mainstream coverage because it isn't something that happens or necessarily see as validation but that doesn't make it right at all. They may not have sold shed loads of records like their American counterparts but their influence on popular culture is evident, and it should be celebrated especially from a country with little over 3 million people.

Why aren't they booked at festivals and given TV time at Glastonbury etc.? I know Gregory did some this summer, Toots does too, what about John Holt, Beres Hammond, Morgan Heritage...? I don't remember Alton Ellis, not sure about Desmond Decker and Dennis Brown getting booked at them. Could be wrong so don't kill me. These dudes got chart hits back in the day. Barrington Levy too. Only person I can think of that gets ratings is Jimmy Cliff.

I wonder if MOBO Awards will pay tribute to him next year...

As I write this, Gregory Isaacs has 4 entries in top trending topics on Twitter (most tweeted keywords) worldwide "Night Nurse", "RIP Gregory", "Isaacs" x2. People know who he is. Treat these artists as MUSICAL LEGENDS don't pass them off as simply reggae legends. Please don't let anymore legends die not knowing how much they are valued by us the people.

Shouts to 1Xtra at least they're playing some Gregory in daytime. I wonder if Choice are still playing their usual Drake, Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne lucky dip playlist.

Last thing, despite lack of sales in comparison to mainstream genres with much more backing (sales are over what they should be) reggae is the daddy. Know this


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