Gregory Isaacs...Officer of Class

By Simone Morgan-Lindo Observer reporter

Saturday, August 20, 2016

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With hit songs aplenty, Gregory Issacs’ place among reggae’s greats is assured. The ‘Cool Ruler’, who died in October 2010, has been awarded the Order of Distinction (officer class) by the Jamaican Government for his contribution to the country’s music.

The Sunday Observer caught up with the singer’s widow June, who is delighted that her husband’s achievements have been recognised.

"I really want to thank the Government for recognising his contribution to Jamaica. I really saw this one coming as I know he did a lot and was dedicated to what he did. Gregory would be overjoyed," she said, describing him as a "true gentleman and a wonderful husband".

She established the Gregory Isaacs Foundation on July 15 2011 (Isaacs’ birthday) to continue his charity work. A year later, a concert featuring artistes such as U Roy, Big Youth and The Mighty Diamonds raised funds for two schools.

The Foundation also makes regular donations to the Walker’s Place of Safety as well as the St Barnabas and Black Harmony basic schools in Fletchers Land and Central Village.

Gregory and June married in 1983. He was on top of his game as an artiste; she was a graduate of the Shortwood Teachers’ College.

Born in Denham Town, West Kingston, Isaacs made his recording debut in 1968 as Winston Sinclair, with the single Another Heartache. He teamed 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. It was the beginning of his lengthy hit run that included All I Have Is Love, Lonely Soldier, Love Is Overdue, Number One, Soon Forward, What A Feeling and Night Nurse.

Isaacs died from lung cancer in London at age 60.

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