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Reggae legend Daddy U-Roy dies at 78

Feb 18, 2021

(CMR) Jamaican reggae and dancehall pioneer Ewart Beckford, popularly known as Daddy U-Roy, has died.

 He died on Wednesday at the University Hospital of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica.

Daddy U-Roy (78) was a veteran vocalist known for a melodic style of toasting applied with a highly developed sense of timing.

He started his career as a DJ in 1961 on Dickie Wong’s sound system, Doctor Dickies, before moving to Sir George the Atomic sound system.

Daddy U-Roy worked with several sound systems throughout the 1960s before a shift in his career in the 1970s.

His big break came when John Holt recognized his talent and told producer Duke Reid about him. Reid then offered U-Roy a recording contract.

Among U-Roy’s most-loved albums were ‘Dread In A Babylon’ (1975), ‘Natty Rebel’ (1976), ‘Rasta Ambassador’ (1977), and ‘Jah Son of Africa’ (1978).

In 1975, the album ‘Dread in a Babylon’ was released in the US, Europe, and Jamaica by Virgin Records. The album achieved significant sales in the UK, which was partly due to the ongoing expansion of the Virgin label and stores.

He launched his own sound system, Stur Gav, named after his sons, in 1978, which helped launch the music careers of Josey Wales, Charlie Chaplin, and Ranking Joe.

The Jamaican government awarded U-Roy the Order of Distinction in 2007 for his contribution to music. His final album, ‘Talking Roots’, was released in 2018.