Lee “Scratch” Perry, the pioneer of roots reggae and dub, died in a hospital in Lucea, Northern Jamaica on Sunday, Aug. 29.
The eccentric, revolutionary Jamaican producer, songwriter and performer was 85-years-old and a cause of death was not revealed.
Perry’s mark on music history began in the late 1960s and ’70s when he produced some of the most cutting-edge reggae artists, with his Upsetter label. He is also known for producing songs for The Wailers, which consisted of fellow soon-to-be legends, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer. A performer himself, Scratch won the Grammy for best reggae album in 2003 for his recording Jamaican E.T.
Scratch was born Rainford Hugh Perry in 1936.
“My deep condolences to the family, friends, and fans of legendary record producer and singer, Rainford Hugh Perry OD, affectionately known as ‘Lee Scratch’ Perry. Perry was a pioneer in the 1970s’ development of dub music with his early adoption of studio effects to create new instrumentals of existing reggae tracks. He has worked with and produced for various artists, including Bob Marley and the Wailers, the Congos, Adrian Sherwood, the Beastie Boys, and many others. Undoubtedly, Lee Scratch Perry will always be remembered for his sterling contribution to the music fraternity. May his soul Rest In Peace,” Jamaica’s prime minister Andrew Holness posted on Twitter as he paid his respects.
Perry is survived by his wife, their two children and five children from previous relationships.
The Upsetter, a documentary narrated by Benicio Del Toro, premiered at the SXSW Film Festival in 2008 and was released in theaters three years later. A second documentary, Lee Scratch Perry’s Vision of Paradise, was also released in 2015, followed by a third, The Revelation of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, in 2019. Sizzla and Shaggy were just a few to pay their respects to Perry’s influence and helping birth reggae music.
See their tributes in the IG posts below.