Reggae superstar Gregory Isaacs, who was just featured on the cover of our Reggae Issue, has passed away at his London home after battling lung cancer. “Jamaica was a really nice place to grow up in, not like how some depict it to be,” he told Wax Poetics writer David Ma of his island home. “One of my all-time favorite [singers] was an American, Sam Cooke. I loved his voice and would try to imitate him all the time. [laughs] As far as I know, music always grabbed my attention.”
In 1978, Isaacs released two of his best and most-respected LPs to date, Cool Ruler and Mr. Isaacs, the latter including the classic “Slave Driver” (see clip above from Rockers). After 1979′s stellar Soon Forward, Isaacs was incarcerated for cocaine possession, but made a huge comeback with 1992′s “Night Nurse.” “I was actually incarcerated while it played on the radio,” Isaacs said.
In 1988, Gregory Isaacs made another big splash in the reggae world with his release of “Rumours.” After that, his popularity never really waned, as he continued performing live up until his death and gained a universal respect for being a reggae heavyweight. Isaacs had recently performed at London’s Big Chill Festival. He passed away at 4 AM on October 25, 2010. He was sixty years old, according to his manager, Copeland Forbes.