Lee “Scratch” Perry, Reggae and Dub Legend, Dead at 85

Lee “Scratch” Perry, Reggae and Dub Legend, Dead at 85

Tributes have poured in for Jamaican reggae and dub legend Lee “Scratch” Perry after the producer and singer born Rainford Hugh Perry’s death at the age of 85 was confirmed earlier today. A cause of death has not yet been given.

The news was reported by the Jamaica Observer, who wrote that Perry died at the Noel Holmes Hospital in Western Jamaica following a period of illness.  The news was confirmed by Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who called Perry a “pioneer in the 1970s development of dub music” and said Perry will “undoubtedly” be remembered “for his sterling contribution to the music fraternity.”

My deep condolences to the family, friends, and fans of legendary record producer and singer, Rainford Hugh Perry OD, affectionately known as “Lee Scratch” Perry. pic.twitter.com/Eec2MEd6yC

— Andrew Holness (@AndrewHolnessJM) August 29, 2021

Perry was born in rural Jamaica in 1936. His music career began in the late 1950s, working as a record seller with Clement Coxsone Dodd and working at Dodd’s Studio One. He later joined Joe Gibbs’ label Amalgamated Records before founding his own, Upsetter Records, in 1968. Throughout the 70s, Perry worked primarily out of his own studio, the Black Ark, before it fell into disrepair and was burned to the ground in 1978.

Over his decades-long career, Perry was instrumental in spreading the music of Jamaica across the globe, working with and producing music for a wide slew of artists that included Bob Marley, The Clash, Beastie Boys, Junior Murvin, The Orb and many more. He pioneered the “dub” technique, utilising remixing and studio effects to create new versions of existing songs.

Tributes from the music world have flowed since news of Perry’s death was announced, from the likes of Lupe Fiasco, Flying Lotus, Kaytranada, Run the Jewels‘ El-P, TV on the Radio‘s Dave Sitek, the Mountain Goats‘ John Darnielle and more.


LEE SCRATCH PERRY pic.twitter.com/Mv1xZyyRjp

— TAPE TAPE & HOUSE EP NOW PLAYING (@LupeFiasco) August 29, 2021

Blessed journey into the infinite.
RIP Lee “Scratch” Perry pic.twitter.com/CBAoMTnfd0

— YASUKE (@flyinglotus) August 29, 2021

RIP Lee Scratch Perry

— KAYTRA (@KAYTRANADA) August 29, 2021

thank you LSP

— el-p (@therealelp) August 29, 2021

you will be missed dear brother. the world is lucky you visited. there are few people who have inspired me more than lee scratch perry. rest in peace legend. pic.twitter.com/RWfjg2eBCU

— david andrew sitek (@DaveSitek) August 29, 2021

few more important figures in the music of the 20th century. he expanded the vocabulary of studio sound; lived a long life & leaves a lasting legacy. play his music for your kids, see how instantly they love it. it’s universal. safe travels home to God. https://t.co/SvnQPpsa59

— The Mountain Goats (@mountain_goats) August 29, 2021

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