On Sunday, reggae’s reverb-bending mystic, Lee “Scratch” Perry, died at the Noel Holmes Hospital in Western Jamaica. Though a cause of death wasn’t revealed, Jamaican media first reported Perry’s passing and the country’s PM Andrew Holness confirmed it in a series of tweets on Monday morning, offering “deep condolences to the family, friends, and fans of legendary record producer and singer, Rainford Hugh Perry OD, affectionately known as “Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry.” He was 85-years-old.
An eccentric and innovative producer, vocalist, and engineer who developed pioneering studio techniques (which are still attempting to be cracked by top-ranking audio engineers,) and crafted massive hits for local royalty in the 1960s and 1970s at his legendary Black Ark Studios, Perry is celebrated broadly for aiding reggae’s introduction to a global audience. But it was his commitment to border-breaking artistic exploration that made him a revered force of creativity, fashion, and sonic tinkering, well beyond the Caribbean nation’s shores.
As the news of his death began to circulate on social media, fans, friends, and former collaborators from all corners of the musical and topographical map sent up dedications to the late producer. “Blessed journey into the infinite,” wrote Flying Lotus in a tweet Sunday morning. “The pioneer of dub. Nothing was the same after him,” said producer Harry Fraud. “We are truly grateful to have been inspired by and collaborated with this true legend,” wrote Mike D of Beastie Boys. “Pure Innovation. Pure Imagination. This Man Was Plug Ins long before you studio cats today can simply press one button and instantly created sound chaos, ” wrote Questlove on Instagram. “Way before The Bomb Squad. The God Of Black Ark. the true Sound Journey. One of the most awe inspiring producer/engineers/visionaries,” the Roots drummer added.
Read through some of the tributes to Lee “Scratch” Perry below.
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