Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry: Reggae pioneer dead at 85

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Reggae icon Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry has died in hospital in his native Jamaica, aged 85.

The eccentric producer, actually named Rainford Hugh Perry, died in the Noel Holmes Hospital in Lucea on Sunday morning, according to local news reports.

Andrew Holness, the country’s prime minister, sent “deep condolences” to his family and called him a pioneer in the 1970s’ development of dub music.

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He collaborated with an eclectic range of artists including Bob Marley and the Wailers, Paul McCartney, the Congos, George Clinton, Moby, the Slits’ Ari Up and the Beastie Boys.

In 1980, Perry sent a letter to the Japanese minister of justice after McCartney was arrested for carrying 7.7 ounces of marijuana in his luggage, arguing: “Please do not consider the amount of herbs involved excessive. Master Paul McCartney’s intentions are positive.”

Perry was born in Kendal, Hanover and made his name in the late 1960s as a producer of cutting-edge music by revolutionary artists.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

His Upsetter label produced some of the greatest reggae songs, including Small Axe and Duppy Conqueror by the Wailers.

In 2003, he won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album for the aptly titled Jamaican ET.

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