Gregory Isaacs is a Jamaican reggae and dancehall singer, who has been performing since the 1980s. This biography provides information about Gregory’s life and his musical career.
Gregory Isaacs, a Jamaican reggae singer, is considered to be one of the best singers in Reggae music. He has released over 100 songs and 10 albums. His most popular songs include “Cool Down The Pace” and “Baby Come Back”.
Gregory Isaacs had a 30-year career as one of Jamaica’s most popular singers, who was as at home in dancehalls as he was in bedrooms. His skill extended into the contemporary era, from the heady days of reggae to lovers rock, a genre he practically created. Isaacs, who was born on July 15, 1951, in the Fletcher’s Land neighborhood of Kingston, Jamaica, got his start in the music industry via the talent show circuit, which has proven to be a successful recipe for many of the island’s aspiring singers. In 1968, Byron Lee was the first in the business to recognize his potential, bringing him into the studio with Winston Sinclair to record the duet “Another Heartbreak.” Unfortunately, that didn’t work out, so Isaacs decided to try his luck with the Concords, a new vocal trio. They signed to Rupie Edwards’ Success label and recorded a series of songs over the following several years, including one with Prince Buster, but none of them grabbed the attention of the Jamaican audience.
The Concords disbanded in 1970, leaving Isaacs to fend for himself. His first self-productions were also a flop, and his subsequent collaborations with Edwards were no better. Despite his dismal track record, Isaacs founded African Museum, a record shop and label, in 1973 with Errol Dunkley, a young vocalist with a series of successes under his belt. Dunkley’s own magic must have worn off since one of the label’s first releases, Isaacs’ self-produced “My Only Lover,” was an instant success, and the floodgates opened wide. Aside from African Museum’s offerings, Isaacs kept the label alive by recording with almost every producer on the island, resulting in a steady stream of singles that showed no signs of slowing down.
Between 1973 and 1976, the vocalist released more music than most musicians do in their whole careers, almost all of it timeless masterpieces. Isaacs’ early albums always included a slew of these classics, as well as a few new songs. In Person, which was released in 1975 and followed in 1977 by Best Of, Vol. 1 and Best Of, Vol. 2 in 1981, offers a heavy-hitting compilation of hits for producer Alvin Ranglin. (For the US market, the Heartbeat label would split this content into three CDs: My Number One, Love Is Overdue, and The Best Of, Vols. 1-2.) Similarly, All I Have Is Love, released in 1976, is a hit-packed bundle of Sydney Crooks productions. Extra Classic, which was co-produced by Isaacs, Pete Weston, and Lee Perry, is jam-packed with chart-topping hits and has some of the singer’s most personal work. The latter album, named Over the Years, was released on African Museum and included a wide variety of producers.
Mr. Isaacs, published on Dennis Brown’s DEB label in 1977, gave the UK an equally terrifying experience. (Turnabout is fair play, as Brown had previously produced a number of great albums on African Museum.) Isaacs’ two polar sides were becoming clear at this point: the roots singer, whose emotional sufferer’s songs and cultural numbers were brimming with fire, and the crooning lover, whose passionate vows of affection quivered with emotion. The Cool Ruler’s connections to the lovers rock movement eventually overshadowed the equally passionate roots performer, but his work in the second half of the 1970s demonstrates that his heart was loyal to both. Beginning in 1978, producer Ranglin teamed Isaacs with a series of cutting-edge toasters for another wave of songs, resulting in another flood of hits. It was at this time that he met DJ Trinity, a connection that lasted for the next decade and resulted in a string of landmark songs.
Isaacs had become too great a talent to ignore by this point, and he signed with Virgin’s Frontline label in 1978. In the same year, the singer appeared in the iconic Rockers film. However, despite being on the verge of worldwide triumph, Isaacs was unable to ignite the rest of the globe. Outside of Jamaica, his first Frontline album, the outstanding Cool Ruler, hardly stirred a feather. It did, however, supply the majority of the material for Slum: Gregory Isaacs in Dub, which included the Revolutionaries’ thick rhythms, pianist Ansel Collins with Prince Jammy, and Isaacs himself at the mixing board. Soon Forward, Cool Ruler’s follow-up album from 1979, was full of songs that would go on to become classics, but it didn’t make an impact in the world outside of Jamaica. Sly & Robbie created the title tune, which became the first success for their new Taxi label. Isaacs collaborated on many more outstanding songs with the group, which were reassembled for the Showcase album in 1980. Isaacs continued to improve even after Frontline was removed from the picture. With a contract with the Pre label in the United Kingdom and his fortunes in Jamaica secure, the singer proceeded to produce success after smash. The Lonely Lover, his Pre debut, and More Gregory, his follow-up, both include the Roots Radics and a slew of Jamaican classics ranging from lovers rock to deep roots to the developing dancehall sound. It’s no surprise that the singer was a smash hit during the inaugural Reggae Sunsplash. Island stepped up to the plate at this time and signed the artist to their Mango label.
Isaacs quickly rewarded his new label’s trust with his greatest hit of all, “Night Nurse,” which must have made Virgin label chief Richard Branson lament his own folly. Another masterpiece was the title of his Mango debut, which included the hot Roots Radics once again. Surprisingly, while the song gained popularity across the globe, the singer languished in a Jamaican prison as a consequence of a drug charge. He was freed later in 1982 and went straight into the studio with producers Errol Brown and Flabba Holt to record Out Deh. Once again able to perform, Isaacs put on a series of incredible performances over the next year, which were recorded on the CDs Live at Reggae Sunsplash in 1983 and Live at the Academy Brixton the following year. Behind the scenes, Isaacs became a part of a clandestine conspiracy of singers aiming to reclaim vocalists’ proper position in the market by flooding stores with music. The storyline attracted an all-star ensemble of experienced vocalists, including Dennis Brown, John Holt, Delroy Wilson, and many more, but none could match the Isaacs’ prolificacy.
The singer is said to have issued up to 500 albums (including compilations) in Jamaica, the United Kingdom, and the United States combined. The singer collaborated with everyone and was just as eager to rework old songs as he was to write new ones. Although none of them are completely throwaway, Isaac’s full-length work started to deteriorate in the mid-’80s. Easy and All I Have Is Love, Love, Love, by Ted Dawson, for example, have certain pleasures but are scarcely essential. That didn’t imply, though, that the hits had stopped. The stores (and charts) continued to flood with Isaacs’ 45s, despite the fact that those 500 discs are just albums, not singles. And the growth of ragga has brought in a slew of new producers to the singer’s already jam-packed recording schedule.
In 1984, producer Prince Jammy, who was also fascinated by the shifting sounds of dancehall, invited Isaacs into the studio for the excellent Let’s Go Dancing, as well as for the song Two Bad Superstars Meet, which paired the vocalist with Dennis Brown. The latter was so well received that a follow-up set, Judge Not, was released the following year. Isaacs’ 1995 solo album, Private Beach Party, included an exquisite “Feeling Irie,” which teamed him with Carlene Davis, and the two vocalists dueted again on a track. Gussie Clarke, a guy aiming to create a worldwide crossover sound through his own one-stop business à la Motown, produced the album. Although he hadn’t quite made it, Private Beach Party had laid the foundation.
For the Double Dose album in 1987, Isaacs teamed up with the similarly sweet-singing DJ Sugar Minott. Isaacs quickly rose to prominence as a dancehall hero. Isaacs also made an album for King Tubby during this time period. Warning features the Firehouse Crew’s amazing rhythms, as well as a dark sense of dread that runs throughout the whole performance. It was never published at the time and was only discovered after the great man’s assassination in 1989. By that time, Isaacs had already conquered the globe, digitally and otherwise, with the Gussie Clarke-produced “Rumours” from 1988 (whose rhythm would go on to inspire a slew of other successes, notably J.C. Lodge’s “Telephone Love,” an even larger hit). Red Rose for Gregory is a masterwork that includes a slew of hits as well as equally exquisite non-45 songs, all recorded for Clarke. I.O.U., the pair’s follow-up record from 1989, is perhaps even better. Clarke rejoined Isaacs and Brown for the No Contest record the following year. Isaacs continued to work with Clarke on landmark songs while simultaneously recording with a slew of other producers. The vocalist collaborated with Niney Holness on the outstanding On the Dance Floor album in 1990. Fatis took over the keys for Call Me Collect the following year, which featured Sly & Robbie and Clevie, while Bobby Digital contributed his own production style to 1991’s Set Me Free. And, because to a contract with RAS in the United States, the label’s leader, Doctor Dread, supervised the famous Pardon Me album in 1992. The album Midnight Confidential, released in 1994, was produced by Philip Burrell.
There were also a number of lesser-known albums; although Isaacs appeared to always strike the target with singles, albums demanded more work than he was willing or able to provide. Both No Intention and Boom Shot, released in 1991, are workaday albums with the vocalist operating on autopilot. Past & Future sounds promising, and it includes Sly & Robbie, J.C. Lodge, Winston Riley, and Boris Gardiner on both new and old songs, but it’s clear that no one’s heart is in it, least of all Isaacs’. Rudie Boo (released in the United States by Heartbeat as My Poor Heart) suffers from a similar lack of enthusiasm on the side of the vocalist. Unlocked, Isaacs’ 1993 album, had a better collection of songs, but most of Isaacs’ output in the 1990s was hit-or-miss. Except for the brilliant “Not Because I Smile,” Midnight Confidential is completely throwaway. The majority of the albums often revisit previous successes, which, even at their weakest, stand out against the current material.
Younger or less experienced producers were especially vulnerable, and as time went on, only the hardest and most creative producers were able to extract the greatest performance from the vocalist. For his 1995 album Dreaming, Alvin Ranglin extracted an extraordinary set of profoundly riven songs from Isaacs. The thick, dubby rhythms of Mafia & Fluxy inspired one of the singer’s finest performances in a long time for Hold Tight two years later. Looking at the production credits is the best method to navigate through the minefield of modern-day Isaacs. Mr. Cool was released in 1996, and if you like Bunny Gemini’s sleek production style, you’ll probably like it. Junior Reid enjoys variety, and Not a One Man Thing is jam-packed with it, from the slacker-themed “Big Up Chest” to a reworked “Don’t Dis the Dance Hall.” Steely & Clevie put down the beats for Hard Core Hits in 1998; if you don’t like their digital dancehall mayhem, go on to the next album. On 1999’s Turn Down the Lights, King Jammy is set free, and although it doesn’t quite live up to Let’s Go Dancing, it’s still a fun trip. So Much Love features Joe Gibbs, Errol Thompson, and Sydney Crooks, and is another of Isaac’s stronger later films.
The singer ushered in the new century with aplomb on Father and Son, which includes Isaacs and his son Kevin, as the title suggests. The duets are stunning, and the younger Isaacs is given enough opportunity to demonstrate that his skill is on par with his father’s. The next year, they collaborated on I Found Love for the second time. In the meantime, the singer continued to wow audiences on stage, and his recorded production remained intermittent for the rest of the decade. However, by 2007, he had allegedly lost all of his teeth as a result of his crack addiction, and he was subsequently diagnosed with lung cancer, which progressed and eventually killed him. Gregory Isaacs died on October 25, 2010, at the age of 59, at his home in London.
Gregory Isaacs is a reggae singer and songwriter. He has released more than 40 albums and over 100 singles. His most famous songs include “Night Nurse”, “Cool Runnings”, “Informer” and “Wonderful World”. Gregory Isaacs was born in Kingston, Jamaica on September 3, 1957. The artist’s wife is called Evelyn Isaacs. Reference: gregory isaacs wife.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happened to Gregory Isaacs voice?
A: Gregory Isaacs had a stroke that made it impossible for him to sing or speak properly.
Is Gregory Isaacs Dead?
A: Yes he is.
How many songs did Gregory Isaacs have?
A: Gregory Isaacs had a total of 41 singles and 5 albums.
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