Statue for Gregory

Gregory “The Cool Ruler” Isaacs would have celebrated his 70th birthdayon July 15. His widow, June Isaacs, believes it is time a statue of her late husband is erected.

“We do what we can to carry on his legacy, but there’s always room for more. What we really want is for him to get a statue, but we haven’t brought the idea to the minister of culture formally. It’s just something we [his relatives and members of the Gregory Isaacs Foundation] have been considering,” she told the Jamaica Observer.

Isaacs said her team had big plans to commemorate the singer’s 70th birthday. They were, however, sidelined by the novel coronavirus.

“We would have been in Canada now, on the second leg of the celebration, and heading to Brazil next, but the virus has interrupted those plans,” she said.

She is, instead, calling for Jamaicans at home and in the diaspora to celebrate where they are.

“Just play some Gregory. If you have a shirt or cap, wear it. Anywhere you hear a Gregory song just ‘buss a blank’. Our head of public relations, Tracy Hamilton, has reached out to the various radio stations asking them to play his music on his birthday,” she said.

In marking the singer’s birthday, the family is planning to lay flowers at his tomb in the Dovecot Memorial Park, St Catherine, today.

On February 15 this year, the annual Red Rose for Gregory concert was held at the Liguanea Gold Club in New Kingston. The show saw four-time Grammy winner Deniece Williams, Grammy-nominated band Third World, reggae singer Sanchez, and The Melodians in performance.

Part proceeds from the event are slated to be handed over to Patricia House Rehabilitation Centre in Kingston today. The centre assists people suffering from drug and alcohol addiction. Gregory Isaacs battled cocaine addiction.

Born in Denham Town, west Kingston, on July 15, 1951, Isaacs made his recording debut in 1968 as Winston Sinclair, with the single Another Heartache. He teamed up with two other vocalists, Penroe and Bramwell, for the short-lived trio The Concords, who recorded for producers Rupie Edwards and Prince Buster.

In 1973, he and another young singer, Errol Dunkley, started the African Museum label and soon had a massive hit with My Only Lover.

His songs, including Night Nurse, Love Is Overdue, Rumours and Hot Stepper, continue to dominate the airwaves. The singer died in 2010.

In 2016, he was posthumously awarded the Order of Distinction (officer class) by the Jamaican Government for his contribution to the country’s music.

By Kediesha Perry, Jamaica Observer

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