Entertainment

2017 Entertainment Highlights - EDI FITZROY

PASSAGE

Saturday, December 09, 2017



The Jamaica Observer continues its daily look back at people, events and works that made an impact during 2017.

EDI FITZROY

Slackness was rife in Jamaican music throughout the 1980s. Artistes like Edi Fitzroy, who were inspired by conscious messages of the previous decade, refused to follow that trend.

Fitzroy died in March at age 61 after enduring a period of personal challenges which included health issues.

He had been off the music radar for some time. It took his death to resurrect the roots-rocking songs that made him popular.

They included the anthem Princess Black, The Gun and Miss Molly Colly. The latter was produced by Michael “Mikey Dread” Campbell who was an engineer and host of the Dread at The Controlsshow at the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation, where Fitzroy worked as an accountant.

Trevor Elliott produced most of Fitzroy's biggest songs such as The Gun, Check For You Once and Princess Black. He told the Jamaica Observer in March that Fitzroy never gave up his day job even when his career as an artiste flourished.

“He was a very humble man...loved people. Edi was a true professional,” said Elliott.

Born Fitzroy Edwards in Chapelton, Clarendon, Fitzroy grew up around his father Vasco Edwards' sound system. Moving to Kingston, he was subsequently employed at the state-run JBC which was embroiled in the divisive national politics of the 1970s.

Fitzroy's co-workers also included disc jockeys Winston “The Whip” Williams, Errol “ET” Thompson and Barry “Barry G” Gordon who ruled afternoon and evening radio. But it was his link with Campbell, who ran the midnight Dread At The Controls, that gave him the break.

Miss Molly Colly was an instant hit and helped put Fitzroy and his adopted hometown of Barbican, St Andrew on the musical map. Princess Black, recorded during the 1980s when 'slackness' ruled, became his signature.

The song saluted the resilience of black women at a time when deejays degraded them. It was uplifting, an apt description of Edi Fitzroy's music and career.

— Howard Campbell

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