Headstone for Gregory

Headstone for Gregory

Observer writer

Monday, July 15, 2019

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TODAY is the 69th birthday of singer Gregory Isaacs, and his widow, June, is planning something special.

“You know his birthday is on July 15 and we were wondering what we were going to do to commemorate this. We decided that a headstone change would be fitting,” she told the Jamaica Observer yesterday. “The reason we're changing it is because we wanted the headstone to reflect his national honour from the Government of Jamaica. It will be in form of a CD.”

Dubbed the Cool Ruler, Isaacs died in 2010. He is interred at Dovecot Memorial Park and Crematory in St Catherine.

“We'll also be laying down one red rose for Gregory, as we don't want to hide the beauty of the new headstone. The rose will be placed on the headstone by his first grandson, Orlando Isaacs,” said Isaacs.

Red Rose for Gregory is the title track of the singer's album released in 1988 by RAS Records. It features the hit song Rumours.

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 fellow singer Errol Dunkley started the African Museum label. Soon after, Isaacs had a massive hit with My Only Lover which 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.

Night Nurse was covered by British pop group Simply Red.

Isaacs' career was plagued by drug abuse. He died from lung cancer in London at age 59. In 2016, the Jamaican Government posthumously awarded Isaacs the Order of Distinction (Officer Class) in recognition of his contribution to the country's music.

The Gregory Isaacs Foundation, headed by June, was established on July 15, 2011 to assist persons struggling with substance addiction. A cheque for an undisclosed amount was presented to the rehabilitation centre, Patricia House in Kingston in May.

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